NEWS | March 22, 2018

‘Steel warriors’ build mission readiness with UAE counterparts

By Spc. Faith Omotosho 75th Field Artillery Public Affairs

Soldiers with a 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) wait until the sun sets before executing live-fire training missions during Operation Saif Strike in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 22, 2018.
Soldiers with a 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) wait until the sun sets before executing live-fire training missions during Operation Saif Strike in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 22, 2018.
Soldiers with a 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) wait until the sun sets before executing live-fire training missions during Operation Saif Strike in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 22, 2018.
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Soldiers with a 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) wait until the sun sets before executing live-fire training missions during Operation Saif Strike in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 22, 2018.
Photo By: 1st Lt. Brian Adams
VIRIN: 180322-Z-ZI573-005
The “Steel Warriors” 1st Battalion 14th Field Artillery Regiment (1-14 FA) of the 75th Field Artillery Brigade (75th FA BDE) executed Artillery Tables I-VI with the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) 79th Heavy Rocket Regiment (HRR) to build readiness in support of contingency operations and build partner nation capabilities in the Middle East. 

Operation Saif Strike, the name of the combined exercise, ran from March 11-22, 2018, culminating with day and night live fires on the final day. 

The training for Operation Saif Strike by the soldiers of Bravo Battery, 1-14 FA and the 79th HRR started long before the first day of the exercise.

First Lt. Elijah Lake, Second Platoon leader, Bravo Battery, stated that, “The planning and coordination with the 79th HRR took about a month and a half from its beginning to the firing of live rockets.”

The soldiers from the two units trained to conduct convoy operations and to react to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) as part of the exercise. 

After the convoy training, the soldiers began executing gunnery tables. Gunnery training started with Tables I through V, which include crews taking written exams, establishing ammunition holding areas and uploading and downloading ammunition. In addition, the crews conducted artillery safety certifications and fire mission rehearsals to validate their mastery of their craft as artillerymen in readiness for the Table VI live fire exercise.

The 75th’s soldiers appreciate opportunities to work with and train with their Emirati partners. It allows them to broaden their horizons and build strength through cooperation with their UAE counterparts.

“The expectation was to build a relationship with UAE soldiers by training and by interacting with them.” Sgt. Michael Thomas, a launcher section chief in Second Platoon, Bravo Battery, stated. “I think my soldiers did well, especially being their first time away from home conducting live fire exercise in a foreign country. The UAE soldiers are very kind and playful. So that made training fun and easy.”

The objective of Operation Saif Strike is to improve 1-14 FA’s readiness to support contingency operations through the execution of Artillery Table I-VI and help build 79th HRR readiness for future operations by executing tough, realistic, and sustained artillery training.

A live-fire exercise by U.S. soldiers with 1st Battalion 14th Field Artillery and United Arab Emirates soldiers with 79th Heavy Rocket Regiment (HRR) lights up the night sky during Operation Saif Strike in United Arab Emirates.
A live-fire exercise by U.S. soldiers with 1st Battalion 14th Field Artillery and United Arab Emirates soldiers with 79th Heavy Rocket Regiment (HRR) lights up the night sky during Operation Saif Strike in United Arab Emirates.
A live-fire exercise by U.S. soldiers with 1st Battalion 14th Field Artillery and United Arab Emirates soldiers with 79th Heavy Rocket Regiment (HRR) lights up the night sky during Operation Saif Strike in United Arab Emirates.
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A live-fire exercise by U.S. soldiers with 1st Battalion 14th Field Artillery and United Arab Emirates soldiers with 79th Heavy Rocket Regiment (HRR) lights up the night sky during Operation Saif Strike in United Arab Emirates.
Photo By: 1st Lt. Brian Adams
VIRIN: 180322-Z-ZI573-006
Operation Saif Strike was a success for both the American and Emirati soldiers. Bravo Battery qualified four High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) crews and two Fire Direction Center (FDC) crews on Table VI. The battalion successfully processed a digital fire mission from their FDC to the 79th HRR’s FDC and completed the first ever day and night live fire exercise between the two units. 

“The overall training objective was achieved. We were able to display our interoperability with the 79th HRR with synchronized day and night live fires.” Lake said.

The 1-14th FA continues to build interoperability and strengthen their relationship with the 79th HRR through engagements and future training events to deter aggression in the Gulf region and to support competitive posturing throughout the theater.