SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment (FAR), 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and Marines of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing conducted the first joint artillery exercise at Makua Valley, Hawaii August 11, 2020.
Two Marine Corps V-22 Ospreys transported Tropic Lightning Soldiers and equipment from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii to Makua Valley, followed by two Army CH-47 Chinooks carrying M119A3 howitzers.
This was the first time Ospreys were used to transport Tropic Lightning Soldiers for a joint artillery exercise.
“Getting in and planning the event from start to finish and understanding how they operate versus how we operate was pretty challenging at first,” said Lt. Col. John Gwinn, 3-7 FAR Battalion Commander. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner to execute it with us.”
When not in the air, Soldiers also conducted high frequency communications, tactical casualty combat operations and sling load procedures.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions there are new challenges presented with every mission in the new operating environment. Military leader’s top priority is the health of the force but are also responsible for the readiness of their unit.
“It's something that we can all persevere and push through to continue the mission.” said Spc. Owen Davis, a gunner with 3-7 FAR.
The training exercise fostered relations with the Marine Corps and showcased the command’s capability and lethality, even in the face of a global pandemic.
“We continue to build upon this relationship with the Marines,” Gwinn said. “At the end of the day it’s a joint coalition force that is going to fight the nation’s wars.”