SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Soldiers with the U.S. Army’s 4th Battalion, 4th Security Forces Assistance Brigade received field artillery training from South Dakota Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 196th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) Aug. 16-31.
Eight soldiers from the Fort Carson, Colorado-based Bravo Battery, 4-4th SFAB, attended a Combined Duties Training Course on the U.S. Army’s Multiple Launch Rocket System and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System to prepare for deployment to Europe.
The 4-4th SFAB is a specialized field artillery team that conducts training, advising, assisting, enabling, and accompanying operations with allied and partner nations.
“We came upon a mission recently to work in EUCOM (European Command), and one of their main focuses is the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems,” said 1st Sgt. Bradley Beavers, Bravo Battery. “We realized we had a capability gap in our unit, as our unit is a majority cannoneers and have limited experience with the MLRS.”
The 4th SFAB was directed to the 196th RTI to complete training to bridge the capabilities gap.
“We called them and they were ready to accommodate our unit and create a program of instruction for us … which turned into a great training event,” Beavers said.
The course covered all aspects of the MLRS and HIMARS systems, from basic to more advanced duties.
“We’ve been able to run through skill-level one tasks (the duty of the gunner and the driver), skill-level two and three tasks (the duties of the section chief) and skill-level four tasks (the duties of the platoon sergeant),” said Maj. Joshua Howard, Bravo Battery, 4-4th SFAB commander. “None of us have done any of this before, and I would assess that we are trained more than enough now to go and perform this mission.”
Learning the duties at all levels of a HIMAR unit was very important to Bravo Battery leadership.
“Without this training, we would be unable to advise the Romanians. We would have no experience and have no knowledge on the HIMARs,” said Howard. “You can’t advise somebody on something that you don’t have any knowledge or experience on.”
The course allowed the team to expand their knowledge and understand the difference between the different types of artillery units.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Letts, Bravo Battery team leader, said he learned a lot more than he expected.
“I realize the difference in the way we fight with cannons and rockets, and I’m going to try to mix it all up to complete the mission,” Letts said.
“This event has exceeded expectations 10 times over,” said Beavers. “I was an instructor at the Fort Sill NCO Academy for three years, and I will tell you this is one of the best group of instructors that I have ever seen. Their knowledge has been amazing, the training event that they put on for us has been amazing, and speaking for my unit, we appreciate everything these guys have done for us.”