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Kentucky Soldiers Train for Deployment on Fort Sill

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FORT SILL Okla_ Soldiers from Kentucky have come to Fort Sill to get trained by Fort Sill soldiers before they head into combat in Afghanistan. 

C-RAM, which stands for counter rocket and mortar. Monday, that training included a live-fire session on Fort Sill's range.

It's very tough. The soldiers spend four hours per day in the field training on the C-RAM and then 4 hours inside on a simulated C-RAM. The training they receive at Fort Sill will be used on the battlefield to protect other soldiers. The radar picks up a threat, it goes to the commanding control center and once they've gathered all the information and made sure air space is clear, the computer tells the gun where to aim and it shoots.

"It will fire a certain number of rounds," Lieutenant Colonel Tim Shaffer of the 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment said. "What we saw in both of those engagements were successful intercepts of a threat mortar."

The C-RAM shot off around 350 rounds. Shaffer is battalion commander for the unit training from Fort Campbell who came here for this portion of their training, because this is the best place in the army to conduct live fire.

"Indirect fire has always been a threat to our soldiers in Afghanistan," Shaffer said. "The army leadership and national leadership made the decision to put additional C-RAM capability in theater to protect our soldiers."

Staff Sergeant Javier Saucedo has had a C-RAM deployment and is applying that experience to teaching these soldiers.

"They really took a good grasp at what they need to learn," Saucedo said. "They have the motivation, and they know their mission and what has to be done."

Saucedo knows first-hand the importance the C-RAM has on the safety of our soldiers.

"I have had many of the soldiers in combat come and tell me, ‘Thank you for what you do. Thank you. I was sleeping from a long day, and I got to sleep and know that we are going to be okay.'"

Shaffer said as soon as his unit got notified they were being deployed, Fort Sill was quick to step in and help train his unit.

"We built a training capability to do all the classroom training, and then coming out here, Team Sill has been phenomenal," Shaffer said. "We couldn't have done it without the folks here."

The C-RAM can shoot up to 6,000 rounds per minute depending on its target. Shaffer and his unit have been training at Fort Sill since the beginning of December, and they will be leaving Tuesday to spend Christmas with their families before being deployed early in 2014.

 

 

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