By Sgt. Gene Arnold
Task Force 4-1
|ISAF and Afghan Soldiers participate in a live fire exercise. (photo by SGT Gene Arnold)
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (July 23, 2012) — Afghan and U.S. Army Soldiers executed a joint live fire exercise for leadership from Regional Command East and International Security Assistance Force July 19 in Paktika Province.
Afghan soldiers with the Artillery Company, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Kandak, 203rd Corps, and U.S. troops with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, participated in the exercise.
The live fire showcased the growing expertise of the Afghan D30 howitzer gun line and the progress of the "train the trainer" instruction given by the 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery, 172nd Brigade and the 2-32 "Proud Americans" Battalion.
"When we first took over, we just taught them what were the basics of field artillery," said Staff Sgt. Antonio Brime, a gunner with the Ace Company, 2-32 FA gun line.
"The good thing about it is they werenít that far off," he said.
"We've been training different platoons within their battalion and I think they can sustain their mission without us," said Brime.
Under the bluest skies, three 120 mm howitzers flank a 155 mm lightweight howitzer set with the coordinates for the base of a local mountain ridge. In the anticipation and excitement of the event, Afghan and U.S. troops shared laughter and a meal in the newly formed bond of brotherhood.
While waiting, Afghan Staff Sgt. Abdul Halim Safi, a platoon sergeant in the artillery company, gave an interview with the help of an interpreter.
"We have learned a lot about each part of the gun with 2-32," he said. "With their help everyone can do each other's jobs and knows their specific job."
Suddenly, a large group of soldiers escorting generals of both Afghan and Coalition Forces makes its way toward the demonstration area. After all the formalities are conducted it was time for the show.
All the soldiers were in their respective places waiting for the words every artilleryman loves to hear in any language: "Fire Mission!"
On that day, more than 20 rounds were fired in support of fire for effect and suppressive fire missions, which are often used to counter indirect fire attacks by enemy forces.
"I'm sure if no one helped us, we can do the job," said Safi. "Everyone knows their job, so we can complete the mission."