Indiana National Guard Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 163rd Field Artillery Regiment fire an M777 Howitzer at Camp Atterbury, Ind., Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Lowry
By Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Lowry, 38th Infantry Division Public Affairs
EDINBURGH, Ind. – In the field artillery it takes teamwork to put rounds downrange.
Three distinct teams help in the process – gunners, observers and fire directors.
“In order to shoot one gun, you need the system to function as a whole,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Goodin, the senior enlisted Soldier with 1st Battalion, 163rd Field Artillery Regiment headquartered in Evansville, Ind. “It’s a combination of the eyes, to the coordination, to the guns.”
Other 163rd Soldiers, who trained at southern Indiana Camp Atterbury for two weeks, agree with Goodin.
“In field artillery, you have to have teamwork,” said Sgt. Andrew Fogg, a forward observer with the battalion’s headquarters battery.
The forward observers, who see the targets, call in coordinates to fire direction team Soldiers. The fire direction Soldiers calculate the firing data that they then send to the gunners. The gunners, who work as a team around the gun, fire rounds, which observers verify if they’re on target or not.
The 163rd Soldiers also worked as a team fielding the newest guns in their arsenal, the 155mm-round M777 Howitzers. In addition to the new howitzers the 163rd troops also upgraded the 105mm-round M119 Howitzers to the A3 model, which has a digital fire control system, said Goodin.
The two types of guns add a new dimension to the 163rd.
“We are the first composite field artillery battalion in the state of Indiana,” said Goodin. "We now have long- and short-range capability."
The teamwork paid off as the 163rd Soldiers became certified on the M777s.