The Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery "Proud Americans," 1st Brigade Combat Team "Bastogne," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) deployed to several training areas here March 22-26 to train its platoons on indirect fire operations during Table XII.
Batteries from across the battalion traveled to the field to have its platoons fire live rounds down range to practice their speed, precision and execution of fire missions. The focus on this training was at the platoon level in preparation for the upcoming Table XV training in two weeks, where the unit's batteries will be put to the test.
Capt. Cody Gilham, commander, A Battery "Automatic," 2-32 FAR, 1BCT trained his platoons while in the field on different scenarios to help prepare them for not only Table XV, but real world operations.
"Table XII certification really is a platoon level certification," said Gilham. "It's their time to see what could happen in real world situations whether it's taking indirect fire, fighting through an enemy chemical attack or getting attacked by the enemy at your firing point. This is their crucible event. Each platoon responded very well to each scenario they encountered. They didn't know when each scenario would occur, but they responded well to a few of those surprises. They definitely grew as a team and came out of this training as a more cohesive unit as we prepare for Table XV, where we fight and train as a Battery."
1st Platoon, famously known as First to Burst, within Automatic Battery focused on engaging the enemy with their M119A3 Howitzer's that fires a 105mm round. The indirect fire weapon can easily be picked up and mobilized by helicopter making it an effective source of firepower within the nation's only air assault division.
First to Burst Platoon prides themselves in their section chiefs who have stepped up in times of need and have excelled above the standard. 1st Lt. JeanMary ArayFreites, platoon leader, A Battery, 2-32 FAR attributes their success to those non-commissioned officer section chiefs.
"I'm proud of all the section chiefs," said ArayFreites. "It has been difficult for a bit when we didn't have an FDO [Fire Direction Officer] for a while. They've covered down quite a bit. I'm proud of them for stepping up and doing extremely well. We even have Staff Sgt. Sean Schuart who qualified to go represent us in the Best of the Best artillery competition with DIVARTY. Now that we have Lt. Hooper, our new FDO, he's been fantastic for us all and I can't wait to see what greater things our NCO's will be able to do."
ArayFreites, affectionately known as Automatic 16, knows that this training was for her platoon to prepare for the Company training mission and the Battalion Artillery Readiness Training in the future, so she stayed in the field longer with her platoon to train and seek perfection.
"Everything went really well for us, and we were able to accomplish all of the certification tasks," said ArayFreites. "We had the time available to us, so we chose to stay for three more days to prepare for the BART and Table XV. We really took the time to hammer home and refine our platoon SOP's [Standard Operating Procedures], our role within the company during battlefield operations and the defense of our firing position. Those extra three days were a great opportunity, and we really got a lot out of the training."
Each Proud American platoon trained on a similar path of Automatic Battery's training plan. With leaders going the extra mile and maximizing their time effectively in the field, the regiment will be ready to execute Table XV and fire live rounds down range again during the future battalion training exercise this spring.