One of the oldest and largest units in the Colorado Army National Guard, the 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery, "the King of Battle," as artillery units are called, is scheduled to conduct a first for the National Guard.
In September, the unit is scheduled to load and unload a High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems from a C-130 Hercules aircraft, and perform a live fire of its rounds in between.
In doing so, it'll also become only the second unit in the Army to do so, said Lt. Col. Scott Sherman, 3-157th battalion commander.
"I think this is aggressive that we want to do this," Sherman said. "It’s going to get a lot of visibility."
The HIMARS is a tight fit for a C-130 – the tires have to be deflated for the vehicle to squeeze into the belly of the aircraft.
"There’s not much margin for error in loading it," said Master Sgt. Mike Novick of the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard. "Everybody has to be on the same page."
Soldiers with Company A and B of the 3-157th performed a test run of the load and unload, along with simulating fires, on the runway at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 6.
The HIMARS is a multiple rocket launcher mounted on a truck frame that fires up to six 240 mm rockets with a range of 60 to 100 kilometers.
The COARNG swapped out its inventory of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems for the new and improved HIMARS in 2010.
September’s exercise is slated to be at Peterson Air Force Base, followed by a live-fire operation at Camp Guernsey, Wyo.