Field Artillery Soldiers of Task Force Spartan conducted High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) training as part of the Air and Missile Defense Exercise 21-1 here in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Oct. 21-22, 2020.
AMDEX 21-1 is a U.S. Air Force Central-led exercise that trains service members' tactics, techniques and procedures against simulated air, cyber and missile threats.
Lt. Col. Andrew Hercik, commander of the 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery Regiment, said this event demonstrates important capabilities.
"This training is so important because it allows the commanders to demonstrate the unit's capability to rapidly move long-range artillery assets across the [CENTCOM Area of Responsibility]," said Hercik. "Working in conjunction with our partners in the Air Force, we can move the system closer to the target to extend the range and operational reach."
The training event began with Soldiers receiving an alert to stage their equipment. When all Soldiers were accounted for, vehicles were fueled and ammunition was loaded.
The next step demonstrated the unit's proficiency in loading the M142 HIMARS, onto U.S. Air Force C-130H and C-130J aircraft before deploying the launchers.
Throughout the year, Spartan Soldiers under the 75th Field Artillery Brigade have been preparing for this specific event.
"The preparation for this included a number of rehearsals of concepts, tactical executions, as well as training down to the section level," said Hercik. "That's HIMAR training, but also how to alert and marshal everybody, and then a thorough rehearsal of tactical actions once we arrive at the operations area."
Second Lt. Jacob Berger was the Platoon Leader for 2nd Platoon, Alpha Battery, during the exercise. Though new to the position, he was quickly able to adapt and take control of his platoon.
"I was thrown into this position," said Berger. "I've been learning my role quickly and finding my place in everything."
With the help of his experienced crew, Berger ensured the mission ran as smoothly and to plan as possible.
"I'm excited about this. It took a lot of planning, a lot of time, and now I'm ready to execute," said Berger. "I have a very squared away and knowledgeable crew. They've been through a lot of training that I wasn't a part of, and it's been a smoother deal getting into the platoon and learning how they operate."
Hercik and other leadership noticed and applauded the work of the Soldiers throughout the exercise.
"Not just for this event, but for the deployment, I couldn't be any prouder of the Soldiers,” said Hercik.
Weeks before this event Soldiers from Task Force Spartan deployed a Mobile Command Post from Kuwait to Jordan in mere hours, showcasing the command's ability to command and control thousands of troops on the move.
Task Force Spartan also demonstrated their capabilities to rapidly deploy their elements anywhere in the CENTCOM area of responsibility by executing a load out exercise where the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division rapidly loaded an M1A2 Abrams tank and M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles for a mission to support troops in Syria onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait.