Spc. Robert Merchand, a driver assigned to Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducts preventive maintenance Aug. 13, on an M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle in preparation for training. Proper maintenance on the vehicles ensures that all the crews have more time to train.

2nd Lt. Eduardo Rosario | U.S. Army

The 2nd “Steel Dragons” Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, got back in the saddle Aug. 6 with some M109A6 “Paladin” Howitzer hands-on training.

Beginning in late August and lasting through September, the battalion’s Bravo Battery is conducting training events that test the competency and proficiency of the operations of artillery support for the brigade.

“Bravo Battery is known for its capability to build professional and knowledgeable soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st. Class Jean Marthone, a platoon sergeant.

They are teaching and leading new and inexperienced soldiers in this critical training, said Marthone, who has been with battery for almost a year.

“I’m confident ... we will train our soldiers to become the future (noncommissioned officers) the U.S. Army wants,” said 1st Lt. Adam Wilson, a platoon leader.

This training opportunity allowed the soldiers to hone the perishable skills needed to master the weapons system.

The Paladin is the most technologically advanced self-propelled cannon system in the U.S. Army, according to the Army website.

The fire-control system is fully automated and provides accurate position location.

The battery’s Howitzer training began with small-arms ranges to ensure all personnel are proficient with their individually assigned weapons and was followed by drivers training.

Afterward, the soldiers participated in the battalion’s Paladin Leaders’ Academy and Fire Direction Center Leaders’ Academy.

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