Colorado National Guard performs Live Fire Exercise at Fort Carson

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares
  • 140th Wing Public Affairs
Members of the Colorado Air and Army National Guard joined forces at Ft. Carson Training Area 11 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Colorado National Guard. The event was open to the general public and more than 100 spectators arrived to see the event, which was based around the last fire of the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, a tactical track-mounted rocket artillery system. The day also included a, special demonstration of a combined live-fire exercise displayed from both the Army and Air National Guard.

The scenario began with the Colorado Army National Guard Honor Guard firing a 75 mm Howitzer, followed by a show of force with an F-16 aircraft performing a low altitude fly-by over a building occupied by insurgents trying to engage in small arms fire. A sniper attack ensued by members of the 5th Battalion of the 19th Special Forces Group who engaged the enemy and eliminated the threat. A Special Forces Direct Action Team of the 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation, approached in a UH60 Black Hawk helicopter and ambushed the building. As they obtained the hostage they were extracted by the UH60. Once the helicopters left the scene, artillery simulators exploded behind the crowd. Shelled with mortars, the 3rd Battalion of the 157th Field Artillery fired rockets from the MLRS's at the command of the ground forces commander.

This display of a war-time scenario is part of the training between the joint forces. The use of air power and ground forces together is imperative for war time capabilities and training with live fire exercises has long been used by the armed forces as an opportunity to use real ammunition in a simulated combat situation.

"Our focus is to prepare for joint operations. In order to do that we have to use combined arms and execute that synchronization. We are combining Aviation, Special Forces, Artillery and Air power all in one exercise to show the citizens of Colorado what the Guard is about," said Col. Gregory Miller, 169th Fires Brigade Commander.

When a call goes out from the Army ground force commander requesting air support, the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from a forward position directs the action of the fighter jets to engage in close air support. The JTAC can calls for air strikes or a show of force to deter enemy prior to ground forces engaging the enemy.

"The Tactical Air Patrol Party are aligned with the brigade and battalion echelon Army units when levying close air support and air power throughout the battlefield," said Capt. Jonathan McCoy, 13th Air Support Operation Squadron liaison officer. "The Air Liaison Officer helps manage their positioning to achieve the tactical effects desired by the various ground commanders while the Army provides us with logistical support to get men throughout the area of operations as well as provide any administrative needs.

Today's exercise demonstrated the combined firepower and war fighting capabilities of the Colorado National Guard, and the trained Soldiers and Airmen, as well as modernized weaponry and battlefield coordination with the Air and Army ensuring that the Colorado National Guard is ready to meet mission requirements at home and abroad.