FORT STEWART, Ga. – Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, displayed their skills and knowledge of mortars during live-fire training at the Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise June 15.
The exercise is the U.S. Army National Guard's program of record that enables brigade combat teams to achieve the trained platoon readiness necessary to deploy, fight and win battles worldwide.
"We're giving our infantry counterparts a taste of the indirect fire support that's available to them," said Sgt. Jacob Brown, indirect fire infantryman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment. "We're supporting the platoon live-fire with immediate target suppression using our 120 mm mortar system."
Mortars were first used as early as 1453 by the Ottomans during the siege of Constantinople. Since then, the system has had various changes, improvements and advancements that have led to the lethal system used by the U.S. Army today.
Indirect fire is aiming and firing a projectile without relying on a direct line of sight between the gun and the target. The mortar round is aimed by calculating azimuth and inclination and may include correcting the aim by observing the fall of the shot and calculating new angles.
"We've trained our Soldiers first on the individual level and then at team and squad levels," said Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Arthur, mortar platoon sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment. "Platoon live-fire exercises are the culmination of all previous training, and they give the battalion an opportunity to ensure that platoons can successfully complete missions to standard."
Elements from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Alpha Company and Charlie Company participated in this training. They used the M224 60 mm mortar system and the M120 120 mm mortar system.
"I think it's great to utilize the different mortar systems since it gives our guys on the ground an opportunity to train with the multiple mortar systems as well as syncing all the different pieces of our kit to one beautifully lethal force," said Arthur. "I believe this builds confidence when our guys are clearing areas and potentially need us to help. Knowing we have their back and the efficiency we have with our systems gives us that confidence to perform at a high level."
"I enjoy these types of training," said Pfc. Kwasi Fowler, indirect fire infantryman, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion,121st Infantry Regiment. "I'm still new to the Army and my job, so it's nice to learn and gain experience as a mortarman, not to mention shooting mortars is really fun."