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Sill commander addresses field artillery shortcomings

Lawton_Fort Sill's Commanding General, Major General Peter Vangjel, addressed the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce on Thursday in a presentation on the state of the post, and  was candid in acknowledging that there have been some shortcomings for many in field artillery.  "They didn't have the resources, they didn't have the time," he said.  "So as a commandant - as a chief of artillery - then if the field can't do it, then it's incumbent upon the institution to do it."

Vangjel shared his observations during the forum and was open about weaknesses and how he is addressing them.  He compared his position to that of a business manager as he spoke to the chamber.  He says that when he relocated to Fort Sill a year ago, he had to look at the field artillery as an enterprise and assess how he could satisfy the needs of the people he serves.  "There are going be stakeholders, and there are going to be customers, and really, a customer in my mind is anybody who has needs of my capabilities," he said. 

His "customers" range from four-star generals to maneuver commanders on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.  "Providing the fire support that he needs at the time that he needs it - and really the timely advice," he said.  "It's all a requirement for me that I have to generate coming out of the school." 

Vangjel also must supervise those attending the field artillery school.  He says proficiency in core competencies has suffered because of the great demand for combat forces in the Middle East.  "As a result, we took soldiers from what they were normally doing and had them performing other missions," he said.  "Field artillery was ideally suited to do that."  He says that although the soldiers were well-rounded, they didn't have the time and resources to get all of the training they needed, creating an imbalance. 

Vangjel says Fort Sill is returning capabilities and capacities to meet traditional artillery standards.  "Everybody is able to operate according to those standards," he said.  "I don't want to lose that.  That's been the pride of the artillery for years.  We've got make sure we still do that because in this day of precision - and precision attack - I can't afford to not have those standards."

Vangjel says that although they returning to traditional artillery standards, it's not a giant leap for mankind - it's still early.  He says they are getting the resources they need, and field artillery will continue to improve.  Vangjel also spoke highly of the new Air Defense Artillery Brigade Complex, and says the new construction is all on track, and some of it is ahead of schedule.

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