By Staff Sgt. William Sallette, 75th Fires Brigade Public Affairs OfficeFebruary 15, 2011
FIRE MISSION! Those words echoed over and over again as a battery from the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment (FAR), Fort Riley, Kansas, supported 75th Fires Brigade's, Joint Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX), Operation Diamond Freeze.
Operation Diamond Freeze was a CALFEX of monumental proportions. Integrating close air support by using Navy F-18 super hornets from Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base and Apache helicopters from the Texas National Guard. Additionally, the exercise featured cannon artillery from 2nd Battalion, 5th FAR, 214th Fires Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 32nd FAR, rocket artillery from 2nd battalion, 18th FAR and the 3rd battalion, 13th FAR, two Multiple Launch Rocket System Battalions within the Brigade. Providing observation and fire support was the 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) from Camp Pendleton, California, making this the largest joint exercise any Army unit has conducted in years.
2-32, a M119 howitzer battalion, recently returned from Iraq and it was time to get back to basics. So when the battalion was offered the opportunity to send a battery to Fort Sill to fire and support Operation Diamond freeze, they jumped at the chance.
"Anytime you get the opportunity to train away from your duty station, you have to take it. There can be distractions when you conduct training at your home station and when we are here, the only thing we have to worry about is completing the training and getting back our core competencies." said Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor Poindexter, 2-32 FAR, battalion command sergeant major.
Along with the training and certification of their eight gun crews, the battery had a rare opportunity to train their forward observers with the 1st ANGLICO from Camp Pendleton, California. The 1st ANGLICO was called in to provide fire support for close air support, rockets, and artillery.
"Besides allowing our forward observers the opportunity to get back to their basics, it gives them the opportunity to train in a joint environment and experience something a little different from their normal jobs in the field artillery." said Major Josef Hatch, 2-32 FAR Operations officer.
Coming back from a deployment and moving from reset guns to fully trained is not an easy task, especially when you are doing it within a week. However, Bravo battery and two guns from Alpha battery took on the task and proved why they call themselves the "Proud Americans". During their stay they fired over 1600 rounds and braved frigid temperatures sometimes producing negative wind chill temperatures.