When a quick-response exercise is initiated, the unit commander receives a warning order to immediately prepare his soldiers and equipment for movement.
Such an order was received by Capt. Andrew Brown, C Co 1-133rd Security Forces Commander, attached to 1st of the 14th Field Artillery Regiment, 75th Field Artillery Brigade. Exercise Diamond Tempest, designed to demonstrate the unit’s ability to dynamically deploy munitions for response operations, was now underway.
"We got alerted at 2:30 a.m. We accounted for everyone. Our trucks were then loaded and pre-staged, and everything was ready to go. We got our mission brief, left post, and moved to Ali Al Saleem Air Base”, said Brown.
Once the unit reached the airbase, they began loading the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, onto a C-17 Aircraft.
Before plane took off, the team conducted a joint inspection with the U.S. Air Force ensuring all equipment met the flight standards, including measuring the center of gravity for the trucks, and calculating the gross vehicle weights. The aircraft load then went through a final inspection for hazardous materials, was inventoried and finally secured before takeoff.
"Working with the Air Force, observing the joint efforts, understanding how to chain down trucks and load C17's and then fly away, comeback, and unchain them was extraordinary, “ said Brown. “Alpha Battery enjoyed executing a mission like this and appreciated the opportunity to work with our Air Force partners."
After the flight, Alpha Battery left Ali Al Saleem Air Base, refueled their vehicles, and convoyed to the range to conduct the live-fire portion of their mission.
“The team executed a four round time-on-target munition cluster,” said Brown. This sequence of firing is one technique to ensure the rockets arrive at a given target all at the same time.
Overall the exercise provided the unit a multitude of opportunities to retrain on old skills and to even learn new ones. “I had infantrymen monitoring radios and doing things that we have never been trained to do,” said Brown.
Exercises like Diamond Tempest are essential for ensuring units are ready and postured to respond to any adversarial threat and helps Soldiers become a more proficient and lethal fighting force.