YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. The Tomahawks mortar platoon, with Company C, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, conducted live fire mortar training during multi-day exercise at Yakima Training Center, Wash.
The mortar platoon is a combination of Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, along with C Company, 1-23 Inf., 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Our basic job is to provide indirect fire support with our mortar systems to battalion maneuver elements, said 1st Lt. Matt Brown, mortar platoon sergeant, HHC, 1-23 Inf. Brown said the mortar platoon supported the Tomahawks infantry platoons whose members were elsewhere on the range that day.
That objective involved mock conventional forces, which is in keeping with the larger, overall shift by the U.S. Army commonly referred to as decisive action to be prepared not only for insurgent threats, like those faced in Afghanistan, but for conventional militaries as well.
With decisive action were fighting more sophisticated enemies, better equipment, better trained armies, said Staff Sgt. Kealia Lanning, mortar section sergeant, C Co., 1-23 Inf. So we have to refer back to our [technical manuals] more and start building our fighting positions, our defensive positions [and] our offensive positions.
The response by many Soldiers to their decisive action training has been largely positive, with Soldiers like Spc. Dustin Ward, C Co., 1-23 Inf., saying they preferred it over counterinsurgency training.
I believe its better because it gives a better understanding of what the differences are between a COIN fight and a conventional fight against an actual organized army with (a) better trained, better equipped army (than the insurgents), Ward said.
Even 9/11 veterans, like the mortars platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Kerry Newman, agree.
For me, this is going back to the old school. Its what I did for years before Iraq and Afghanistan. This is just going to make them a more well-rounded, lethal Soldier. Theyll be able to react to what fight they get. If they find themselves in an insurgent situation, theyve got that COIN knowledge, but if theyre fighting a standardized army with counter battery, artillery, this is going to increase their survivability and lethality of the unit, Newman said.
The Tomahawks commander, Lt. Col. Corey Crosbie, is especially proud of his Soldiers accomplishments as he observed them move from COIN-centric training to decisive action over the course of the last four weeks.
This was an awesome platoon collective live fire training event allowing Tomahawk platoons to hone their skills with mounted and dismounted maneuver (and) controlling direct and indirect fires, Crosbie said. Platoons left the objective having learned many lessons and were more confident in their weapon systems, trusting of their buddies on the left and right, and more prepared than when we started this event.