CAMP SHORABAK, Afghanistan -- More than 20 Afghan National Army soldiers with Artillery Brigade, 215th Corps recently began an artillery course at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan.
Several U.S. Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest are leading the eight-week course, who are taking a crawl-walk-run approach with their Afghan counterparts throughout the evolution.
“Right now the emphasis is on the basics, and trying to foster the mindset of ‘shoot, move and communicate’ while employing this skill within the brigade,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dellon Arthur, an artillery advisor with the Task Force. “We’re also putting an emphasis on safety, and how all three of these functions come together to make a good artillery unit.”
Not all soldiers undergoing the course are learning the same skills. Artillery crewmen, forward observers and a fire direction control team are working to enhance their respective skills in order to bring an enhanced capability to the battlefield.
“Our goal is to remove the enemy and to achieve the skills necessary to do that,” said ANA Capt. Hijratullah, a batter commander with Artillery Brigade. “Our experience here is getting better and better. We feel a lot better already about firing artillery.”
As the course progresses, the forward observers and fire direction control personnel will incorporate map reading and other skills during in-field training, while the crewmen will conduct increasingly advanced dry-fire drills and procedures on the 122mm howitzer D-30. The training culminates in the final week during a live-fire exercise testing the soldiers’ newfound skills in a fire support scenario.
According to Arthur, the capability artillery provides throughout the battlespace can be crucial to defeating an enemy.
“As artillery, one of our primary missions is to support the ground forces,” said Arthur. “When those forces are seizing an objective or neutralizing the enemy, fire support can play a pivotal role in that unit’s mission accomplishment.”
Proper employment and firing of artillery is a challenging task, but the advisors and the Afghan soldiers are ready to bring this lethal asset to the fight against the Taliban.