Blown Away: Field Artillery Impacts Army
(July 5, 2011)
Field artillerymen with the Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, fire a M-119 A2 howitzer during the Joint Operations Access Exercise at Sicily Drop Zone on Fort Bragg, N.C., June 27,
2011. The 3-319th Airborne Field Artillery Regt. use the M-119 A2 howitzer because of its portability and fire power, said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Lenord, a fire chief for Battery A, 3-319th Field Artillery Regt., 1st BCT, 82nd ABN Div.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (6/30/2011) - From its humble beginnings as small
black powder cannons to the titans of devastation and lethal
efficiency of today, field artillery weapons have always made an
impact. Nowhere is that truth more evident than today in the U.S.
From training Iraqi soldiers to providing steel rain in
the most remote areas of Afghanistan, the Army relies on a group of
highly trained and efficient artillerymen to provide the indirect
fire it needs to accomplish its missions.
Recently, some of
the 82nd Airborne Division's field artillerymen showcased their
skills in a Joint Operations Access Exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C.,
June 26-28. During the exercise, the artillerymen of 3rd Battalion,
319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment displayed what they bring to
“We provide suppressive fire to effectively give
lethal support to forward elements,”
said Sgt. Caleb Sprayberry, a field artilleryman with Battery A,
3-319th Airborne Field Artillery Regt., 1st Brigade Combat Team,
82nd Airborne Division. “So the grunts make it back home,” the
Clarksville, Tenn., native added.
Sprayberry, whose father was an Army field artillery officer, grew up in
the field artillery community, and when the chance to become an
artilleryman presented itself, he didn't hesitate.
“I went to my
recruiter, and he showed me a video of what the Army is working with
now,” Sprayberry said. “I was sold.”
The Army works with many
field artillery cannons like the M-777 Howitzer which is one of the
“The M-777 has many advanced features,” said Sgt.
1st Class John Glenn, the gunnery sergeant for Sprayberry's team. “It is
totally automated, all you have to do is type in all the coordinates,
and the cannon moves into place. Then you just press enter and it
In the Army, the gunnery sergeant controls the advanced
party of a field artillery battery. Though, it might seem like a
front-line leader like Glenn would want the latest cannon to provide
support for the infantry or cavalry, but that isn't the case.
Although the M-777 is newer, all the extra technology weighs it down,
which makes it of little use to the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne
Division, Glenn, a native of Paduka, Ky., said.
For the All
Americans of the 82nd Airborne Division, “a lighter and more
maneuverable cannon is needed,” Sprayberry said.
That is why they
use the M-119 A2 howitzer.
“We have a lot of capabilities with
the M-119,” said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Lenord, the smoke or fire chief of
Sprayberry's team. “We can drop it out of a plane and then we just
follow it out of the bird.”
Glenn agreed and said the M-119 is
easily the best choice for a military unit that is as mobile and lethal
as the 82nd.
According to Sprayberry, who served with the 1st
Infantry Division, one thing remains the same across the board for
“The dedication really sticks out to me,”
Sprayberry said. “We practice crew drills day in and day out until we
are able to set up and fire a cannon within twenty minutes.”
Sprayberry said this constant drilling brings everyone together like a
“The camaraderie is really my favorite thing,” Sprayberry
said. “I know my teammates can set everything up without anyone saying a
word. We all know what needs to be done.”
For a seasoned
artilleryman like Lenord, passing on these skills and the rich tradition
of the artilleryman is the most rewarding aspect of his job.
“When I see my guys doing as good or if not better job than me working
with the cannons, I know I made my mark,” Lenord said.
Article and photo by Army Sgt. Derek Kuhn
40th Public Affairs Detachment
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