Urbana, Milan National Guard units target artillery training Print
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Written by Maj. Nathan Westby, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Tuesday, 23 July 2013 13:05

FORT MCCOY, WIS. (07/22/2013)(readMedia)-- Soldiers assigned to the Combat Observation and Lasing Team, "Colt" from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), based in Urbana, Ill., conduct live-fire training exercises with the 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment (2-123 FA), headquartered in Milan, Ill., during the units' annual training at Fort McCoy, Wis., in July.

The two units, who are assigned to different brigades within the Illinois Army National Guard, rarely have the chance to work together despite having complimentary missions. The "Colt" team specializes in accurately identifying enemy locations and calling for indirect fire on enemy targets. The 2-123 FA uses its new M777 howitzers to provide indirect fire support on enemy targets. This training provided both units the opportunity to build proficiency in skills they couldn't accomplish without working together.

"We don't have organic 155mm howitzers, specifically the M777 howitzer in our brigade. This opportunity allows us to call for indirect fire and observe rounds from that weapon system," said Master Sgt. Nathaniel McIntyre of Willisville, Ill., the brigade fires noncommissioned officer with the 33rd IBCT, who also serves as the joint fires observer manager for the Illinois Army National Guard. "We're also helping their battalion train on how their fire direction center is going to work on the digital net to process tactical fire direction orders," said McIntyre.

The Soldiers of the "Colt" team are able to improve their skills using the M1200 Armored Knight, an armored vehicle that provides the "Colt" team with digital communications and targeting technology to quickly and accurately bring indirect fire onto an enemy.

"This training provides us a chance to get out in the field and do our job and work with the digital systems," said Sgt. William McNeese, of Bloomington, Ill., a forward observer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd IBCT. "It's also a great chance to train up our lower enlisted and increase their proficiency," said McNeece.

 

Captions:

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Charlie Helmholt, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Sgt. William McNeese, of Bloomington, Ill., a forward observer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) observes artillery fire from the top of a M1200 Armored Knight vehicle during annual training at Fort McCoy, Wis., July 18. Soldiers from the 33rd IBCT's combat observation and lasing team or "Colt" identified enemy targets during the training exercise and then called for artillery fire from an Illinois Army National Guard field artillery battalion.

U.S. Maj. Nathan Westby, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment /Sgt. William McNeese, of Bloomington, Ill., a forward observer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) points at targets from the observation turret on top of the M1200 Armored Knight vehicle during annual training at Fort McCoy, Wis., July 18. The Soldiers from the 33rd IBCT's combat observation and lasing team or "Colt" conducted artillery live-fire training with 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment during the units annual training in Wisconsin.