By Staff Sgt. Jacob A. McDonald/18th Fires Bde. PAOJuly 1, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Rockets fired from High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems in a massive display of firepower, creating sonic booms and shaking the ground around the large trucks, but this was not a battlefield overseas, this was a demonstration for the Families of 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment (HIMARS), 18th Fires Brigade on Fort Bragg June 16.
As part of the annual battalion Family Day, Soldiers and their Families gathered on Sicily Drop Zone to enjoy good food, have fun and learn about what the troops do every day. Rifles, vehicle mounted weapons systems and the HIMARS launchers were on display. Family members were even allowed to fire blanks from some weapons. A bounce house was set up for younger children and professional barbecue pit masters were on hand to make sure the Soldiers and their Families had a good meal.
"It's a nice time for our Families to see what everyone does," said Pfc. Melissa LaVelle, 3rd Bn., 27th FAR (HIMARS) and a native of Long Island, N.Y. "The kids really enjoyed firing small arms and seeing the launchers. At first they were a little scared, but in the end, I think they enjoyed all of it."
Family members came out to spend time together, play and see the equipment their Soldier uses.
"Everything is Family oriented," said Cynthia Levy Meyers, guest of Sgt. 1st Class Shawndell A. Rouse, who came from Sumter, S.C., to attend. "They have stuff for the children and the adults. There is something for everyone out here."
A highlight of the event was the HIMARS live fire demonstration where the Soldiers fired multiple rounds in a demonstration for their Families. On the last fire demonstration, Quinton Scaldaferri, son of Staff Sgt. Fred Scaldaferri, was allowed to give the command to fire. Family members were impressed with the capabilities of the systems and the Soldiers manning it.
"I have never seen a live fire, so it is something different, something interesting and something for me to tell the people where I work," Meyers said.
Christian LaVelle, a native of Tuscon Ariz. and husband of Pfc. LaVelle, said he felt it is good to know what the Soldiers are doing on a daily basis and how they do their jobs.
"It's always good to show your kids and your Families, your significant others what you do on a daily basis in the Army," he said.