Sept. 21 , 2010

Family day provides opportunity to observe, join in artillery live fire exercise 

By Cotton Puryear        
Virginia Dept. of Military Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Family members of Soldiers assigned to the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team had the chance to observe live fire operations Sept. 11 at Fort Pickett during the unit’s family day. After watching the battalion’s two firing batteries shoot, many family members took advantage of the opportunity to pull a lanyard to fire the weapons system. Food service personnel from Company G, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, the battalion’s forward support company, cooked lunch for Soldiers and their families.

 

Family members of Soldiers assigned to the Hampton-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team had the chance to observe live fire operations Sept. 11 at Fort Pickett during the unit’s family day. After watching the battalion’s two firing batteries shoot, many family members took advantage of the opportunity to pull a lanyard to fire the weapons system. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Va. Department of Military Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event.

Click HERE to see raw video from the event.

“I think the family members really and truly appreciated our efforts and I know we met their expectations or even exceeded them,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald M. Howell, the battalion’s senior noncommissioned officer. “This was a great opportunity for Soldiers to integrate with their loved ones and let family members see what they do during a training weekend and especially a live fire exercise. The battalion safely delivered more than 850 rounds and family members had the opportunity to participate in that successful effort.”

Family members from the Norfolk, Hampton and Sandston areas travelled to a designated parking area at Fort Pickett, boarded buses for travel to the firing point, and received a safety briefing and orientation to the day’s events prior to being offered the opportunity to join in the live fire.

Howell said the focus of the unit’s training for the drill weekend was to hone their artillery skills and fire their remaining ammunition allocation for the fiscal year, a key metric evaluated by the brigade and the state.

In addition to family members, senior leaders from the Virginia National Guard state headquarters and 116th Brigade Combat Team attended the event. Two of the family members in attendance had served as artillerymen in the Korean War and were given the opportunity to fire the cannons.

Howell estimated about 90 family members took part in the event and said the battalion leadership plans to conduct this type of event every two years.

In addition to the family day field feeding and live fire opportunity, Howell also extended his enlistment in the Virginia National Guard along with Staff Sgt. Mark Winecoff and Sgt. Melvin Terry.

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