JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (5/12/2012) – Soldiers moved
swiftly after the first round shot through the smoky area in
preparation for the next.
A soldier assigned to Battery A, 1st
Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade loads
a round into the chamber for an M777 Howitzer May 3, 2012 during
training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The unit participated in
a two-day field training exercise in which they got a chance to
sharpen their skills on the weapon system. Photo by Army Staff Sgt.
Private 1st Class Brian Deverey has always wanted to be
an artilleryman even before he joined the Army, and he gets
pumped up every time he touches the weapon.
this weapon reminds me of playing football,” said Deverey, a
native of Overland Park, Kan. “Just as the excitement builds
at a game before the touchdown, that's how I feel before the
Deverey, along with Soldiers assigned to
Battery A, 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment,
17th Fires Brigade conducted training on the M777 Howitzer,
at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, May 3rd and 4th.
was high for this close-knit group of soldiers as they sang
several songs while waiting to fire the weapon system
including, Journey's “Don't Stop Believing.”
songs help us get the adrenaline pumping,” said Deverey.
The group of 10 Soldiers consisted of several ranks;
amongst the group was the crew's chief Staff Sgt. Michael
Ogburn. He provides guidance to the crew and ensures the
accuracy and precision of each round fired.
to know each position of the gun in order to guide the
soldiers,” said Ogburn, a native of Atlanta.
explained the integration process for new Soldiers who
arrive to the unit from advanced individual training, and
the feeling he gets knowing that he is training future
“When the new soldiers arrive to the unit,
my job is to refresh their skills of what they learn in
school and to teach them the unit's standards to support the
mission,” said Ogburn a former infantryman. “I feel
confident that I can provide my Soldiers the right
information to one day take my place and successfully train
Unlike Deverey, Pvt. Douglas Newlon
didn't always want to be an artilleryman. But since going to
school and being a part of the regiment, he has learned the
importance of his job and now shares the same enthusiasm.
“When I was in AIT, a lot of the things that I learned
weren't as clear as they are now,” said the Summersville, W.
Va. native. “I'm not trying to pass a course here; I am
doing my job, so the environment is not as stressful.”
Artillery rounds travel far distances, so everything has
to be set exact for where each round will land. Before each
round is fired, Ogburn checks the gunner sights (much like
binoculars which are used to measure distance) to ensure the
accuracy of his Soldiers.
Newlon explained that even
though he learned how to use the gunner sight in school he
was still unsure. But since being under the guidance of
Ogburn, he is now confident enough to use the equipmet.
Newlon appreciates the fact that he works alongside
veterans in his field who are competent and helpful.
“Its an amazing feeling when I pick up effective tips from
the seniors, no matter how big or small,” said Newlon.
The soldiers fired lots of ammunition during the
training continuing to enhance their unit's mission
Artillerymen are also known as red legs
a name that was given to them during the Civil War because
they wore red stripes down the legs of their uniform pants.
For new red legs such as Deverey and Newlon, having
confident leaders to follow help keeps the pride of
artillery flowing throughout the crew. Newlon made sure to
end with a slogan that keeps him going each day.
By Army Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
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