Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Andrew Porch
2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — The loud booms of artillery rounds echoed over the dunes as Hellfire missiles screamed through the air before hitting their targets, during a joint live-fire exercise at Udairi Range near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Nov. 20.
Soldiers of Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Combat Brigade Team, 4th Infantry Division, partnered with the 4th Battalion, 227th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, the U.S. Air Force and Kuwaiti air force to conduct the exercise.
“Simultaneous fire is what we are trying to do,” said Capt. Frank Scappaticci, assistant brigade fire support officer, 2nd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div. “We are trying to have close-air support, close-combat attack and artillery coming down at the same time on the same target.”
Partnering with other forces is nothing new to the “Warhorse” Brigade.
“It is important because everything that we do now is joint,” said Air Force Capt. Nick Longo, brigade air liaison officer, 2nd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div. “There are no services out there doing anything on their own, so it is definitely important that we are able to integrate with the Army.”
Longo, and the Airmen assigned to him, were responsible for relaying commands to the aircraft directly and integrating the air with the ground forces.
“We have aircraft flying that (don’t) necessarily know what the Army is doing on the ground, so it is important that I am able to talk to (the pilots) in a way that they understand what is going on, on the ground,” said Longo.
The training focused on increasing the battalion’s and the brigade’s overall ability to engage an enemy target.
“What we are trying to do out here is integrate all the assets at the disposal of the joint fire observer that are organic to that battalion, so that the (joint fire observers) can be combat multipliers for their battalion commanders,” said Scappaticci.
One thing that would prevent the mission from happening is communication.
“Communications is everything for an observer,” said Scappaticci. “Without communications, you are just a rifleman. It is crucial to this operation. If we don’t have communications, this whole thing is a ‘no go.’”
This is the first large-scale exercise planned and executed during the brigade’s early deployment, and there are plans to conduct the training monthly for the foreseeable future.