RTI brings out the Big Guns


Written by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

- Published - Feb. 15, 2005


Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

A M-109 A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer waits in the mist as the soldiers prepare for another fire mission.

RTI (Regional Training Institute) instructors at Camp Williams conducted training for the 222nd Field Artillery and other units this week to bring the soldiers up to speed on their primary MOS in preparation for deployment.


Other units were also among the “triple deuce” as they trained.  Soldiers from the 145th Field Artillery from Utah and the 169th Field Artillery from Colorado were there as well to finish their instruction.


Multiple MOS’s such as 13B Field Artillery, 13F Forward Observers, 13S Surveyors and 13D Fire Direction (or Fire Control) participated in Wednesday’s exercise.  All worked together to accomplish the mission.


The air was frigid Wednesday as fog continued to blanket the valley.  With the visibility hindered, the troops performed dry fire drills, until the forward observers could get eyes on the targets. Once they made a positive identification of the targets, obtained a good terrain sketch and plotted grid coordinates, the FO’s were ready to call in a fire mission. 

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

A Soldier training at Camp Williams holds two bags of powder signaling to the rest of the group that the team has loaded only five bags of powder for the required round.


SSG Jared Mclaughlan, a RTI instructor with six years experience as an FO, summed up the 13 Foxtrot’s mission by saying “Our mission is to effectively bring fire down on targets on the battlefield.” 


The FO’s called in the fire mission to the fire director who acts as the hub for the mission.  Once they have received the call, they then put the information into the computer and send it out to the 13B’s who are waiting.


SSG Eric Irons said the computer tracks everything, “We know where everything is, and what everything is doing.”  SSG Irons has been an instructor at RTI for eight years.


From the Fire Control, the 13B’s receive their mission digitally into their fire control system onboard the M-109 A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer. Once received the crew leaps into action to get the proper amount of powder for the shot, the right type of round, and the right fuse.  When these are ready, they are taken inside of the Paladin and loaded in the chamber.  After it is primed and ready, they commence firing down range.


The rounds make a deafening racket as they are fired.  The smoke billows out of the howitzer like some sort of mythical fire-breathing dragon.  The soldiers on the ground don’t stop, but prepare for the next fire mission.  They don’t get to see where the round hit, but they can hear it pound the earth from several miles away


Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett



A Soldier watches from a nearby mountain top as the rounds

 pound the earth down in the valley below.

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett


A forward observer keeps a sharp eye on

 the impact sight.

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett


SSG Eric Irons (far right) teaches soldiers to use the Fire Control system in the back of a

HMWWV (hummer).

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett


SSG Mark waits in the Paladin for another training

soldier to enter.

U.S. Army Photo


Explosion from artillery round impacting target site.