[ Triad Online Home ]
News

Oklahoma active-duty Army field artillery units train at McCoy

      Two field artillery units from Fort Sill, Okla., deployed to Fort McCoy for training and were the first active-duty Army units to fire the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) on the installation's shoot and move training areas.

Members of the 1st-14th Field Artillery fire Multiple Launch Rocket Systems at Fort McCoy.

Members of the 1st-14th Field Artillery fire Multiple Launch Rocket Systems at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Anita Johnson)

      Members of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery and the 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery also said they were pleased with the opportunities to use installation ranges to become qualified with all small-arms weapons.

      The units generally conduct one training mission off post per year. The 1st-14th chose Fort McCoy to train at after conducting a reconnaissance of the training areas here and after completing a cost analysis of several other installations that offer MLRS training, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Wilson of the 1st-14th.

      

Capt. Dave Steinmeyer of the 1st-14th Field Artillery uses a global positioning system receiver to check grid coordinates during an MLRS firing exercise.

Capt. Dave Steinmeyer of the 1st-14th Field Artillery uses a global positioning system receiver to check grid coordinates during an MLRS firing exercise. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Maj. Brian C. McNerney, battalion executive officer for the 2nd-4th, said the same conditions and considerations led his unit to come to Fort McCoy for training.

      Opportunities also may exist for the units to return to Fort McCoy at a future date, Wilson and McNerney said.

      Both units treated the training as a deployment, using Air Force assets to help move equipment and personnel to Fort McCoy, as well as using rail transport for moving equipment.

      McNerney said the training allowed members of the 2nd-4th to reintegrate themselves as a battalion. The unit trained at Fort McCoy from May 7 through June 8.      

     "Our daily routine was a fast-paced mission with little down time," McNerney said. "We got all our sections certified and did not have to compete for ranges."

MLRS launchers undergo repair at the 2nd-4th battalion unit collection maintenance point at Firing Point 412.

MLRS launchers undergo repair at the 2nd-4th battalion unit collection maintenance point at Firing Point 412. (Photo by Maj. Brian C. McNerney)

      Lt. Col. Peter Baker, battalion commander for the 1st-14th, said unit members found the facilities to be great during the training, which began June 1 and will end June 30.

      "We could shoot all our weapons and didn't have to compete for land," Baker said. "The support people here are first-rate."

 

2nd-4th Field Artillery

      Sgt. Jose Flores, a section chief in the Bravo Battery MLRS, said Fort McCoy was a total change in environment from Fort Sill, but the soldiers did what they needed to do and dealt with the heat, rain or cold nights as they occurred.      

An M-88 Recovery Vehicle from the 2nd-4th moves across a Fort McCoy training area to complete a mission.
An M-88 Recovery Vehicle from the 2nd-4th moves across a Fort McCoy training area to complete a mission. (Photo by Maj. Brian C. McNerney)

Because the unit treated its trip to Fort McCoy as a deployment, this meant the unit had to carefully inventory what it was bringing along, Flores said. If unit members forgot something, they might have to do without it for a while or might not receive it during training at all, he said.

      Pvt. 2 Matthew Carleton, an MLRS gunner from Bravo Battery, said Fort Sill has flat, sandy terrain and Fort McCoy had much more wooded terrain.

      "I like this because you have open spots to shoot, plus a lot of places to hide the MLRS," Carleton said.      

A soldier from the 1st-14th Field Artillery perfects sentry duty techniques during a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical training event at Fort McCoy.
A soldier from the 1st-14th Field Artillery perfects sentry duty techniques during a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical training event at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Cpl. Rashad McLean, a fuel specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Services Battery, said the training gave the unit a chance to train new members.

      "Training here gave them a chance to learn new areas and different areas than we normally train in," McLean said. "You have a lot more trees and mountains and a lot of different terrain than we have at Sill."

      Pvt. 2 Linwood Williams, also a fuel specialist, said he learned a lot as a newer member of the unit.

      He spent a lot of time putting up camouflage nets and did a lot of driving.

      "I hadn't seen a firing of the MLRS, and I was amazed at the type of impact it has," he said.

 

1st-14th Field Artillery

      

Soldiers from the 1st-14th receive a firing mission from the Fire Direction Center.
Soldiers from the 1st-14th receive a firing mission from the Fire Direction Center. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Spc. De'Angelo Crawford, a fuel supply specialist, said the pop-up targets on the McCoy ranges allowed unit members to accomplish a lot of small-arms training and qualification.

      The chance to be in a different environment and experience such things as night attacks and defensive procedures also made for good training, he said.

      "Fort McCoy is a nice facility," Crawford said. "I think everyone in the Army should come here and train."

      Sgt. Michael Rogers, a communications specialist, said he had just returned from Germany and McCoy's terrain was very similar to what he experienced there.

      The terrain at McCoy also provided good communications opportunities and challenges.

      Staff Sgt. Tony Lindsey, the launcher chief for Alpha Battery, said the wooded areas at Fort McCoy presented new training opportunities compared to Fort Sill.

A soldier from the 2nd-4th Field Artillery uses a strap to unload ammunition from a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck.
A soldier from the 2nd-4th Field Artillery uses a strap to unload ammunition from a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. (Photo by Maj. Brian C. McNerney)

"The obstacles keep you alert and they heighten senses that you will need on a future battlefield," Lindsey said.

      Pfc. Gary Sluder, an Alpha Battery MLRS driver, said Fort McCoy was the first field training problem he had participated in since joining the unit nine months ago.

      "It's the first time I've had hands-on driving opportunities," Sluder said. "It's very challenging to negotiate the tank trails here to reach the hide areas. You have to drive cautiously on the soft sand to protect the tracks of the vehicles."

      Sgt. 1st Class Richard Powers, the master gunner for the Headquarters and Headquarters Service Battery, said the 224th Engineer Battalion, an Iowa Army National Guard unit training at Fort McCoy from June 2-16, helped support the 1st/14th by digging fighting positions and a perimeter for the MLRS firing.

Members of the 2nd-4th Field Artillery set up the OE254 antenna group at the Administrative and Logistical Operations Center at the Tactical Assembly Area.
Members of the 2nd-4th Field Artillery set up the OE254 antenna group at the Administrative and Logistical Operations Center at the Tactical Assembly Area. (Photo by Maj. Brian C. McNerney)

   "It was a unique training opportunity to have them provide us with the support we would get in actual combat and to be able to work with them," he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A soldier from the 2nd-4th Field Artillery cleans the MLRS launcher "Beowolf" at the installation's Central Vehicle Wash Facility.
A soldier from the 2nd-4th Field Artillery cleans the MLRS launcher "Beowolf" at the installation's Central Vehicle Wash Facility. (Photo by Maj. Brian C. McNerney)

[ Top of Page ]

[ Triad Online Home ]