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3-6 FA Soldiers fire 'big guns' on Fort Drum ranges

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Soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team's 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment conducted a live-fire exercise Jan. 23-29 with their M-119A2 towed howitzers throughout the Fort Drum training area.

Since returning to the North Country last spring, the Centaur Battalion has conducted a live-fire and certification at the section level, but this exercise took it up another level to conduct fire missions at the platoon level.

"We are doing a Table 12 live-fire, which is a platoon exercise where an entire platoon receives a fire mission and fires all at once," said 1st Lt. Aaron Peacock, executive officer for A Battery, 3-6 FA. "The purpose … is to come out of this more proficient as artillerymen and be able to provide more lethal fires."

While sending rounds down range was the primary goal of the exercise, additional training was conducted to improve Soldier skills throughout the battalion.

"You never know when one guy is going to go down and somebody else is going to have to fill his shoes," Peacock said. "So we really push the guys to be well crossed-trained so they can step into anything."

For new Centaurs like Pvt. Dustin Sisco, an artilleryman with A Battery, 3-6 FA, who has been with the battalion for four months, this exercise provided useful training he will use for the remainder of his Army career.

"I have learned a couple of new techniques on my job, which is advance party," Sisco said. "What I learned at Fort Sill (Okla.) is a little different from what I have learned here."
In addition to training on his job, Sisco learned about the jobs of the other Soldiers within his section.

"I have also been trained on other jobs," he said. "If I know other jobs, then I know what they need to get done so I can try to help out while I'm doing my job. That makes everything run faster and smoother."

During the week, the Centaurs battled every type of weather the North Country has to offer, but nothing stopped 3-6 FA from successfully completing the mission.

"The weather has given us some challenges, but we are all really impressed with the Soldiers being able to work through all the challenges and still being able to conduct their missions to standard," Peacock said. "We are keeping track of time standards, but that is not our main focus. We want these guys to become proficient in their individual jobs. The thought pro-cess they go through will become second nature, so they will gain time in the process."

Now that the platoons within 3-6 FA have fired and certified, the focus of training shifts to the batteries functioning as a whole and firing simultaneously.

Article by Sgt. Blair Neelands, Army.mil