U.S. artillery troops participate in bilateral exercises with UAE

In support of the Task Force Spartan mission, soldiers from the 115th Field Artillery Brigade and 4-133rd Field Artillery Regiment (FAR) participated in multiple bilateral exercises with their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates Land Forces. Maj. Daniel Long, 115th FAB Intelligence Officer, participates in an after-action review with his Emirati counterpart at Operation Thundercloud.

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US Army, US Marines, and UAE Armed Forces conduct a bilateral live-fire exercise utilizing American and Emirate High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers at Al Hamra Combat Training Center, United Arab Emirates, March 16 to the 24th, 2020 (Picture source: U.S. Army)

The exercises, which culminated in a joint High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (M142 HIMARS) live fire, spanned the course of several weeks throughout March 2020. The first, Operation Thundercloud, was a staff exercise dedicated to increasing fire mission interoperability at the battalion level. Participants included staff officers from 115th FAB and 4-133rd FAR, as well as their Emirati counterparts.

Following the conclusion of Thundercloud, 115th Field Artillery Battalion and Bravo Battery, 4-133rd Field Artillery Regiment participated in the second exercise, Iron Union 13, joining their artillery counterparts in the UAELF for an extended field exercise. Iron Union 13 included partnership training at the battery level, and validation of fires planning and firing capabilities with both Emirati and US-led classes.

During the live-fire event, American and Emirati artillerymen followed a fire mission script involving 15 planned targets. Both nations engaged this shared fire plan while acting as a single unit, which was a first in the history of the exercise.

Task Force Spartan is a unique, multi-component organization, made up of active Army and National Guard units, rounded out by U.S. Army Reserve support units. Through Operation Spartan Shield (OSS), Task Force Spartan maintains a U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia sufficient to strengthen our defense relationships and build partner capacity. The U.S. forces supporting this Task Force Spartan mission were the 115th Field Artillery Brigade, known as “Cowboy Thunder" from the Wyoming National Guard and the 42nd Infantry Division, from the New York Army National Guard.