‘Iron Thunder’ Battalion supports Network Integration Evaluation
Doña Ana Base Camp, NM (KTSM) — Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, head out to Doña Anna Base Camp at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to support the Network Integration Evaluation 13.2 from late April through late May.
The battalion qualified on multiple systems including the howitzer and radar. The unit conducted on the move fire support for brigade and battalion level convoy operations while utilizing several systems under test.
As the unit set up systems in the Tactical Operations Center during the first week, Soldiers attended ranges for the M4 carbine, M320 grenade launcher and M240B machine gun at Doña Ana Base Camp.
The battalion with its M109A6 self-pro-pelled howitzers and M777A2 towed howitzers successfully completed Artillery Table VI section live-fire qualification.
Soldiers fired more than 100 high-explosive rounds. The Soldiers of 4-27 FA are the first and only composite field artillery battalion in the U.S. armed forces who utilize both light and heavy field artillery pieces simultaneously.
Battery A occupied firing box 10 near Doña Ana Base Camp and fired a series of high and low angle adjust, fire for effect and priority target fire missions. This allowed the battalion to qualify by accurately placing a minimum of seven rounds in an impact zone ranging more than 8 kilometers away.
Staff Sgt. Mitchell Brittingham, section chief in Battery A, said the purpose of the qualification process is to ensure gun sections can perform their jobs safely.
“We’re firing high-explosive rounds. We need a certified and qualified section that is capable of firing safely and accurately to destroy targets in combat,” said Brittingham.
With enhanced acquisition and fielding processes that lead to improved operational effects and increased operational capability, NIE’s are key to getting the right capabilities into the hands of Soldiers faster.
“Looking back, I feel more confident in my abilities as an artilleryman,” said Pfc. Patrick Mcloughlin, assistant gunner, Battery B, 4-27 FA, 2nd BCT, 1st AD.