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Utah Guard Artillery Soldiers Train in Kuwait

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait --

The Utah National Guard’s Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 145th Field Artillery Regiment cannoneers had an opportunity tackle other tasks Feb. 28 during a complex training exercise.

After eight weeks of training in the field, Delta Battery executed Operation Diamond Strike, an exercise testing their combat skills in urban terrain. The exercise’s training scenario involved infiltrating a village to locate an informant who would provide the whereabouts of some high-value targets.

Army Spc. Matthew Miyasaki, who’s assigned to Delta Battery, 1-145th FA, is among a group of artillery soldiers who went through the training.

“We’re usually field artillerymen, so we’re used to being the guys supporting the guys doing this,” he said. “So actually getting in their boots and doing what they do gives us a better picture on both ends of the battlefield.”

After securing a landing zone for two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, the soldiers were picked up and inserted near the village that they needed to infiltrate. Immediately, the squads got to work on their objective.

Putting Training to Work

Three squad leaders directed their teams in accordance to their element’s respective role of assault, support or security. As they hurried toward the village, the soldiers prepared to fall back on every skill they learned during the previous weeks of training. Not all of the training was combat-oriented.

“The ‘hearts-and-minds’ aspect helps us out, because it limits the amount of hostiles that we would engage with and the amount of negative reception that we would have on the United States Army moving into an operation,” Miyasaki said. “So giving a good American presence within whatever our area of operation would give us a smoother and more precise way of pinpointing where we could target the enemy.”

Keeping this training in mind, the artillerymen proceeded with caution upon entering the village. After making contact, however, the squads received enemy fire. Within moments, everything learned during the prior weeks was called into action.

Smoke grenades were employed, suppressive fire was deployed, masks were donned, and the mock informant was detained. Soon, the high-value targets were captured and the operation was completed.

Valuable Lessons

Army Capt. Kyle Rawlinson, 1-145th FA’s executive officer, was there to watch his troops maneuver through the urban terrain.

“This is everything that we’d be doing in our combat role,” he said. “The main thing that we are trying to get is sustainment training on their [crew-served machine guns and other] weapons.”

Training like this is effective for the soldiers to have internally, Rawlinson said, and it will also help with joint operations.

“The training value of an event like this is a combined arms [situation] when we are working with other units,” he said. “What I hope 3rd platoon learned out of this training event is [urban terrain] tactics and also small-unit tactics -- moving as a unit, working at both squads and platoon levels.”