By Levi Spellman, 214th Fires Brigade PAOJune 15, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. - The final contingent of deploying Soldiers from B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery, were bid farewell during a June 2 ceremony at Rinehart Fitness Center, here at Fort Sill.
Nearly 50 Soldiers will travel to Afghanistan to help provide protection for other Soldiers stationed in the area using Q36 and Q37 Firefinder radars, systems designed to detect incoming artillery and to establish its point of origin, said Capt. Robert E. Barnett, the unit’s commander.
Family members, friends, and community leaders were in attendance, with a farewell address given by the Deep Attack Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. James McGovern. Declaring his confidence in the unit and their mission, McGovern wished his troops a safe return.
The year-long assignment is but a part of the unit’s deployment cycle, having recently deployed several sections to both Iraq and Afghanistan, Barnett added.
“We’ve been deploying Soldiers from this battery since last October,” said 1st Sgt. Kenneth Ball, the top enlisted Soldier in the unit. “One of our last sections [leaving] is actually going to replace the first one we sent.”
Breaking artillery units down into radar crews, and then having them deploy in that capacity, speaks volumes about the nature of field artillery, said Ball.
“The lethality of the [Multiple-Launch Rocket System] platform, in light of the nature of current conflicts, means the modern artillery Soldier must be able to adapt to out-of-design missions,” he said. “I’m very confident in these Soldiers.”
The faith Ball has for his troops is also grounded in the radar training they have received, a vast improvement over earlier iterations, and something he hopes to see implemented for other artillery units undertaking such missions.
“Our Soldiers are trained and ready, and we have experienced Soldiers with combat deployments under their belt. I’ve got the utmost confidence in their abilities and for their performance once they’re down-range,” he concluded.