Field artillery training ahead of combined arms live fire exercise

5th section, Alpha battery soldiers in 5th Battalion, 25th Artillery Regiment conduct fire...
5th section, Alpha battery soldiers in 5th Battalion, 25th Artillery Regiment conduct fire missions to support maneuver ground elements in 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Peason Ridge.<br />(KALB)(KALB)
Published: Sep. 3, 2018 at 8:04 PM CDT
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Before the holiday weekend, soldiers in Alpha battery, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment were at Peason Ridge for a Fire Support Coordination Exercise or FSCX. They were assisting maneuver ground elements in 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division as the unit prepares for a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise later this year.

Behind the Howitzer are soldiers like Sergeant Tyler Walker, chief of 5th section, Alpha battery. He receives information from the Fire Direction Center on his fire control computer in the last verification before rounds are fired.

"It is a very technical job so any extra training that we can get does not go to waste. We are the only maneuvers fire unit within the brigade so any of the infantry units, cavalry units that needs supporting fires, we provide that."

Field artillery might be known as 'the king of battle' but a lot happens behind the scenes before setting off the big booms. The Fire Direction Center or FDC processes targeting information from forward observers on the ground and verifies if the rounds will land safely.

First Lieutenant Julie Silverberg was a fire supporter with an infantry company during 3-10's 9-month deployment to the Middle East. She said she was able to see how operations differed between the three Forward Operating Bases her unit was assigned to and also worked with some coalition forces. Now she's applying that experience to her new role as a Battery Fire Direction Officer.

"Having been on the other side of calling rounds it's awesome to come to this side. I plot the SDZ or the Surface Danger Zone and that's kind of the block of ground that I'm safe to fire in. Then it goes into our digital systems, we make sure they're both firing the same data. And then I verify if that data is safe and is going to land where we want the round to land.

The goal is to synchronize all systems and processes across the unit.

"So can we take the call for fire from the observer on the ground, accurately put that round in a safe spot and have the observer observe it. So kind of completing that circle."

"It is a quintessential part of the brigade and what makes it whole," concluded Sgt. Walker.

But before ever heading to the range, soldiers at every level have to meet certain requirements. Lt. Silverberg recently completed brigade fire support certification as the top performing officer. 75 soldiers were tested mentally and physically through eight events.

"This was the first time I'd gone through a brigade certification so this was in both ways very stressful and reassuring. It's stressful in that you're put in a stressful situation and prove what you know and how physically fit you are, any of those things," said Lt. Silverberg. "But it's also very reassuring to see that the training that you've put in the last however many months has paid off and to be able to see success recognized is pretty awesome."

Lt. Silverberg was one of two female officers to complete the certification.

"I measure my success against my peers whether they're male or female, I don't care," said Lt. Silverberg. "I want to be at the top of my game at all times. I'm expected to perform the same mission, carry the same weight."

The top-performing non commissioned officer and junior enlisted soldier were also recognized.