FORT SILL, Okla. (Feb. 12, 2024) – Fort Sill Soldiers returned from their Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise with a renewed sense of readiness and preparedness after completing rigorous training and deployment exercises.
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery of the 75th Field Artillery Brigade, spent about a month at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. Throughout the exercise, the Soldiers plugged into Division Artillery with 1st Armored Division to display exceptional teamwork and proficiency in executing fires support, maneuverability and communication.
Lt. Col. Richard Farnell, commander of the 2-18th FA, said this EDRE was special because it was the first time a Multiple Launch Rocket System battalion was able to exercise at a division and corps scale.
“The other part that was really cool,” Farnell said, “was to see Soldiers constantly motivated and to see them work together as teams.”
Farnell said Soldiers became very confident in their equipment and their capabilities, even though it was the first time a lot of them got to experience a large exercise/a combat scenario.
Over the course of the exercise, Soldiers pushed their equipment to test its capabilities—they successfully drove their tracked vehicles more than 120km.
“It was, in my career, one of the best exercises I’ve ever participated in just because, for the very first time, I get to plug into a division [higher control] and really play as if we were going to be out there in the fight,” Farnell said.
“And here’s the other part, too, is to know that if we got the call today, we are ready—If we got the call today, we are ready. And so for [the Soldiers] to see that, not to hear about it, not to think about it, but to know it [...] you’re ready. You can go anywhere and be successful because everything you trained up on prior to coming out was validated right there at NTC.”
Farnell added the EDRE emphasized the importance of maintaining readiness and adaptability to support various missions as required by the national command authority and reiterated the significance of day-to-day training in preparing for combat deployments at a moment's notice.
“[2-18] showed up, showed out, dominated and was ready,” Farnell said.
Parts of the battalion were redeployed to Fort Sill Feb. 5 and 7 at Rinehart Fitness Center to an excited group of family and friends.