FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan — Task Force Currahee conducted its first artillery cannon sling-load mission, called a “gun raid,” during the Operation Toccoa Tukarah III in Paktika Province Dec. 27.
Just before the sun crested the mountains, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter sling loaded an M20A1, 105 mm howitzer into the Charbaran Valley of Paktika Province.
The gun team from 1st Platoon, Battery A, 4th Battalion of the 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conducted an air assault and quickly set up the howitzer. Within a few hours, the gun team was ready to fire rounds in support of the ground units to the north and provide defense against possible indirect fire attacks from insurgents in the surrounding mountains.
“Due to high mountain ranges and the vast open areas of the province, (conducting a gun raid) in artillery allows ground forces immediate access to close range fire support,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert Fouche, the executive officer of TF Currahee, 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div. “Although for this operation, only illumination rounds were requested.”
This was the first time this deployment TF Currahee conducted a sling-load gun raid to move artillery fire support forward with ground forces. After this successful first mission, future operations will now have the support of close-range artillery during an air assault.
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