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'Redlegs' receive torrent of training during 'Guns Monsoon'

Jul 30, 2009

By MAJ Mike Nicholson

CAMP HOVEY, Korea -- Firing batteries from 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery, 2nd Infantry Division spent a week of refresher training covering the basic tactics used during Paladin operations.

"Guns Monsoon" was designed to train, develop and certify sections and platoons, and to provide a common foundation of training for new, or "Redleg" artillery Soldiers of the "Guns Battalion."

"We're focused on how to perform Paladin operations," said 1st Lt. Brian Wadas, platoon leader for "Bravo" Battery. "It is training on how to rapidly shoot and move, and not remain stationary in one position."

The summer transition also brings a large number of new Soldiers to units, and the exercise allowed the battalion to make sure all the new members were ready to go.

"We're learning as much as we can this week," said Pvt. Kenneth Bowden, cannoneer with 1st Platoon, Bravo Battery. "Some of the things we're doing here are occupying a position, conducting fire missions, and time on target missions."

Bowden, like other junior Soldiers, learned valuable new skills during the training.

"My job is emplacing the collimator, which is used as an aiming reference for shooting. It is one of the first things we do when we occupy a position," he said. "After I'm done, I go back and am the guy who pulls the lanyard when shooting."

More experienced leaders took the time to school the newer Soldiers on all the basics, including occupying a position, setting up communications and various types of fire missions.

"We have a lot of new guys that have come in, so the senior guys here are making sure the newer, junior guys are up to speed," said Wadas. "With the big summer (personnel) rotation here in Korea, you naturally have highs and lows in the knowledge of your personnel. We're making sure all the new guys coming in are well trained and ready to execute."

Soldiers like Bowden seemed to embrace the training opportunity and the chance to learn a new job.

"I've had a couple jobs during my six months in the Army, and this is the best one so far," he said. "I get to put rounds downrange, and it's why I joined the Army."

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