FORT HOOD, Texas --- Soldiers of the 3rd Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB) embarked on new artillery training on January 10, which involved learning how to use the 122mm Howitzer 2A18 (D-30). The purpose of the training was so the unit can better advise foreign allied forces that utilize such weaponry.
Master Sgt. Caleb Webster, Operations Sergeant of the 3rd SFAB and acting master gunner for the operation, commented on exactly why this training is important.
"What we've done is take all of our 13 series Soldiers and put them all on the D-30," he said. "What we want them to understand is that what they're doing on their howitzer pieces is the same routine as this one, and all they need to do is find the similarities between this weapon and their own."
This training is preparing the SFAB for upcoming missions that play directly into the reason a unit like this was created in the first place. The core mission of the SFAB is to train, advise and support America's Allies and partners across the world. Lt. Col. Julian Urquidez, Commander of the 4th Battalion Field Artillery, 3rd SFAB, spoke more on the unit's mission.
"What's incredible is that we get to train, advise, assist, accompany, and enable our foreign security forces and that ultimately builds readiness back into the Army," he said.
Soldiers training on the D-30 are expected to be able to not only set up, but operate the artillery as well. This is the first of many training operations that will help the newly instated unit meet their future goals. Urquidez explained the importance of the training.
"SFAB training is targeted, so in our case we're preparing to train on the D-30 for upcoming deployments," he said, "Up to 65 countries, including our partners and allies overseas, use that form of artillery, so what we need to do is become subject matter experts on this howitzer. That doesn't just mean the employment of the howitzer, but the gunnery as well. This is all to fulfill our mission in properly training and advising foreign security forces."
Although the training may be the first of its kind it meets a classic staple of the Army, readiness. Urquidez explained how the work of the 4th Battalion Field Artillery is playing back into Army readiness.
"In this mission set we've been able to take 24 highly selected officers and non-commissioned officers and train them to emulate the same effectiveness as an entire field artillery battalion," he said, "That creates a field artillery battalion in a brigade combat team that gets the opportunity to train on direct action, high intensity conflict, and making sure that we are ready for our near peer adversaries."
The 3rd SFAB is working up to their first deployment where they will be able to utilize the skills that they are now taking the time to cultivate.