GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Multiple combat units merged to form Task Force Ironhorse, and participated in a Fire Support Coordination Exercise to mark the beginning of Combined Resolve XV at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Feb. 9.
Soldiers from 1st Squadron 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Battalion 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Battalion 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, and the 1st Battalion 142nd Field Artillery Brigade participated in the live-fire exercise. Additional close-air support was provided by American and German fixed wing assets.
The massive operation was the start of the allied combined training exercise that will occur in Hohenfels Training Area later this month.
“Live-fire is an important component to training and readiness in preparation for large-scale ground combat operations,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas H. Dvonch, commander of 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment. “In conjunction with our allied partners, we, as a brigade, will be able to demonstrate the ability to mass fires at the decisive point and deliver near-precision fires when called upon.”
Combined Resolve exercises allow commanders to demonstrate the capability of their respective units in utilizing various weaponry to engage with enemy forces, as well as strengthen the relationships with NATO allies and partners.
“In addition to our organic 120mm mortars and 155mm artillery, we executed this fire support coordination exercise with additional fires assets, including a Multiple Launch Rocket System battery, as well as American and German fixed-wing close air support platforms,” said Maj. Tony Fatula, fire support officer for 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team.
“Our artillery batteries were able to fire over 1,000 rounds of artillery and strike targets accurately and safely,” said Dvonch.
1st Lt. Bernard Kusinski, executive officer for Diablo Troop of 1st Sqdn. 7th Cav. Regt., said they are prepared for the exercise.
“From a troop executive officer perspective, it’s pretty cool to see both on the ground and the big picture of how things happen,” said Kusinksi. “Scouts in the squadron go out to reconnoiter an area, while tanks are in position to engage any potential enemies. If the scouts locate any intelligence pertinent to the mission, they provide the information to higher command.”
Iterations allow each four-person team to streamline their team’s efficacy. Each team consists of a driver, a gunner, loader, and tank commander.
“If you're a tank crewman, you make sure your tank is squared away,” added Kusinski. “You've identified any issues with it, ensuring it's ready to roll.”
Being able to demonstrate capability is essential to each team, as they must confirm they are ready for such a training event.
“The training is so important because it validates that we're ready,” stated Kusinski. “If the nation needs us to go to war, we’re ready to fight.”