Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade partnered with members of the U.S. Air Force’s weapons school as part of its semi-annual training exercise in November at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
The purpose of the training allows both Soldiers and Airmen the chance to get some hands-on training in a real-world environment.
Warrant Officer 1 Casey Ramos, a targeting technician assigned to 3-27 FAR, 18th FA Bde., said these joint trainings are important to help bridge any gaps to be an effective joint fighting force.
“[Weapons School Integration] is the culminating exercise for the Air Force’s Weapons School,” Ramos explained. “The 18th Field Artillery Brigade is an enduring participant in this capstone event, providing our rising Air Force leaders with long-range, surface-to-surface fires during iteration scenarios.”
The Soldiers provide a unique capability conducting rapid infiltration with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, as part of their warfighting functions.
In order to have a successful mission, the unit loads HIMARS onto aircraft as quickly as possible, lands, establishes its position and conducts a fire mission before moving out as quickly as possible via air exfiltration.
This operation is a good opportunity for junior Soldiers and leaders to test the skills they work on perfecting every day a real-world training environment. U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Prisma Reyes, a field artillery officer assigned as a platoon leader and fire direction officer for Bravo Battery, 3-27 FAR, said the best part of the training is the cooperation between the two branches of service.
“The best part was being able to see firsthand how two branches work together to accomplish one shared mission,” Reyes said.
Spc. Chase Rust, an Army fire control specialist, was in charge of ensuring all fire missions were conducted correctly and in correlation with Air Force Weapons Control Specialists.
“The best part of the training was getting the opportunity to get up on a bird and fly to different states to conduct fire missions with the Air Force,” Rust said.
Like many missions, the environment is dynamic and ever changing. The Soldiers experienced certain elements they will continue to improve on. Sgt. 1st Class Reason Mayle, a HIMARS crewmember and a platoon sergeant for Bravo Battery, 3-27 FAR, said challenges they faced included weather, flight and mission changes that can happen on the fly. Mayle calls it the “unknown factor.”
Mayle said they overcame those changes by being adaptable and ready at all times, as they usually are. Overall, however, the training was successful.
“We got to see how we would actually work with our sister branch and integrate into their systems in a real-world scenario,” Mayle said.
The unit hopes to build upon this training and implement the lessons learned to next year’s Weapons School Integration as well as the day-to-day training. With trainings like this, the field artillery Soldiers remain ready to go when called upon.