Story by SGT Jeremiah Woods on 03/19/2019TORU, Poland -- Artillery Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kan. conducted table 12 certifications on the Paladin M109A7 Artillery system here while deployed in support of Atlantic Resolve March 14, 2019.
1-5 FA is the oldest field artillery battalion in the Army, with lineage back to the American Revolution. The Soldiers of the 1-5 FA demonstrated their mastery of the Army's newest howitzer, the Paladin M109A7.
"The table 12 certification is with your platoon. You go through platoon occupations and fire missions where everybody makes sure the platoon is working together," said Sgt. Juan Howard, artillery cannon crew chief in Delta Battery, 1-5 FA. "It just proves that everybody is training properly and everyone is on the same standards of conducting precise fires."
Field Artillery is known as "The King of Battle" among Soldiers, it's mission is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy. To do this effectively, artillery batteries must qualify by safely, quickly, and accurately putting rounds on targets at great distances.
"In this certification table we're practicing platoon occupations and platoon security. It shows that we're capable, able to shoot rounds, and be safe," said Staff Sgt. Garrison Coulson, artillery cannon crew chief in Delta Battery, 1-5 FA.
These kinds of certifications ensure that every platoon, each battery, and the battalion as a whole is a lethal fighting force able to respond to any situation.
"It's important to do things like this. First, to make sure the Soldiers know what they're doing. Also, to make sure the leaders know what we're doing. The allied forces know that we're here to help and assist, and that we're fully capable of doing that," said Staff Sgt. Coulson.
Teamwork is vital to shooting safely and quickly. Cannon crew members must anticipate each other's actions while working in tight quarters in situations where every second counts.
"Training like this is really good for the crews. It gets them on the same page. Everyone is going to operate properly and to the standard," said Howard. "We can blend in our training together with the Polish and all provide the amount of fires that we need to. We can assist them when it is needed."
Overall, the mission was a success and each crew was able to work together and validate their skills. In the end it proved that the battalion is ready and able to join with NATO forces and respond to any conflict that may be present.
"Just knowing that I'm supporting someone who needs it, at a time when I can give them accurate fires, there's no other feeling like it," said Coulson. Today's certifications demonstrate that the battalion can do just that.