Troopers from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment participated Friday in a comprehensive live-fire exercise replicating the rigors of combined-arms combat.
The exercise utilized Stryker maneuver and fire simultaneously with field artillery and attack aviation gunnery.
All of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and fire support assets were integrated into the exercise, said 1st Lt. John Woloszyn, fire support officer for Ironhawk Troop, 3rd Squadron.
“We have the sensors and the shooters. The sensors — snipers, forward observers, unmanned aerial vehicle platforms and Apache helicopters — are all the things that see,” said Maj. Jonathan Martin, 3rd Squadron operations officer. “Then, the shooters — the field artillery and the mortars — they were all brought together in one exercise. The sensors see it, the shooters shoot it.”
Woloszyn said on Thursday night of the week-long exercise, snipers did an infill air assault on Black Hawks and moved tactically into the observation post where they did a reconnaissance hand-over, and based on their intelligence troopers were “able to get good eyes on the battlefield.”
“With the (forward observers), snipers and UAV platforms it allows commanders and operations to see the battlefield and pass the intelligence to our sensors to call for fire on targets,” Woloszyn said.
Capt. Jamie San Juan, artillery support battery commander for 5th Squadron, said the sensors “are the eyes and the gun-line is the muscle that puts steel on targets.”
“They say artillery shapes the battlefield, so it will dictate what the battlefield looks like as your moving forward,” he said. “You’ve got your tactical operation centers providing overall command and control of the squadron, and essentially juggling different units. A lot goes into firing artillery.”
Woloszyn said the guns and mortars on the field are essentially blind and rely on the sensors to successfully hit their targets.
“They only fire, they cannot see the targets, so it’s our job as fire support to make sure that our rounds of fire do not hit friendly troops, but destroy the enemy on the ground,” he said. “We keep aviation safe and our ground forces safe from all of these powerful weapons.”
Woloszyn said joint-fires exercises are “very uncommon.”
“It’s extremely difficult to stack all of these assets on top of each other,” he said. “Getting training schedules to align is very difficult but it’s incredibly important because if we were to get into a conflict, whether it’s a current conflict or future conflict, it’s how we engage and destroy targets and allow maneuver forces such as the infantry and the armor to actually clear objectives and seize ground.
“It’s bringing together the ability to see the enemy without being seen and the ability to destroy the enemy before the enemy can engage or attack friendly forces.”