FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Members of Fort Riley’s 1-7 Field Artillery Battalion are getting some hands-on training this week, working with Paladins- powerful weapons that provide support for our troops in combat.
The self-propelled 155 mm Howitzers can hit a target up to 12.5 miles away.
It is the battalion’s first live fire training exercise in two years. They deployed to Iraq in 2010 and returned this past fall. Now, they’re ramping up their training for future missions.
"The focus is getting back to our core competency, ensuring our soldiers understand how to shoot the artillery systems, how to track it through radar and how to get all of the data that goes into the gun line," said Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Gainey, Battalion Commander for 1-7 Field Artillery.
"The last time we had an opportunity to do live fire operations was back in May of 2010 and coming out here and having the ability to get the guys on the guns again, it brings up a lot of energy and the soldiers are excited about that. It’s fun, it’s a rush but it’s also a little nerve-racking because you’re shooting live rounds down range at least 4-10 miles and you want to make sure that all those rounds are tracked safely into the target area. This is important because if we have the ability to fire artillery accurately, then we can save lives and prevent the enemy from shooting on US forces," Gainey added.
"This has been a great experience for artillerymen to get back and focus on their core skill set which has been the overall focus of this training event- getting these guys refamiliarized with their weapons system and their core competency. This will eventually lead into our combat scenarios as we get into a brigade combined arms live fire exercise later on down the road and as we prepare for our next mission wherever the Army needs to send us," Captain Brian Cotter told 13 News.
The artillery training is set to wrap up Thursday at Fort Riley's impact area, according to officials.