FORT STEWART, Ga. – Georgia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, displayed their mortar skills and knowledge during live-fire training during the Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise on June 15.
The exercise is the U.S. Army National Guard’s registration program that enables brigade combat teams to achieve the trained platoon readiness necessary to deploy, fight and win battles around the world .
“We are giving our infantry counterparts a taste of the indirect fire support that is available to them,” said Sgt. Jacob Brown, Indirect Fire Infantryman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment. “We support platoon live fire with immediate target suppression using our 120mm mortar system.”
Mortars were first used as early as 1453 by the Ottomans during the siege of Constantinople. Since then, the system has gone through various changes, improvements, and advancements that have led to the lethal system used by the US military today.
Indirect fire involves aiming and firing a projectile without relying on a direct line of sight between the weapon and the target. The mortar shell is aimed by calculating azimuth and inclination and may include aiming correction by observing the shot drop and calculating new angles.
“We trained our soldiers first at the individual level and then at the team and squad level,” said Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Arthur, Mortar Platoon Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment. “Platoon live-fire exercises are the culmination of all previous training, and they give the battalion the opportunity to ensure that platoons can successfully complete missions to standard.”
Elements of HQ and HQ Company, Alpha Company and Charlie Company participated in this training. They used the M224 60mm mortar system and the M120 120mm mortar system.
“I think it’s great to use the different mortar systems because it gives our guys in the field the opportunity to practice with the multiple mortar systems as well as sync all the different pieces of our kit with a magnificently lethal force,” Arthur said. “I think it builds confidence when our guys are clearing areas and potentially needing our help. Knowing that we have their backs and the effectiveness of our systems gives us the confidence to perform at a high level. “
“I enjoy these types of training,” Pfc said. Kwasi Fowler, indirect fire infantryman, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment. “I’m still new to the military and my job, so it’s good to learn and gain experience as a mortar, not to mention that shooting mortars is really fun.”