According to information released by the US Department of Defense on January 4, 2022, soldiers from the Wisconsin US Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, a mobility artillery unit equipped with HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) M142 conducts training before deploying to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
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Colorado Army National Guard High Mobility Artillery Rocket Launchers (HIMARS) move to their next training destination at Fort Bliss, Texas, Dec. 16, 2021. Ten National Guard Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army are deploying overseas with the Colorado National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery in support of Operation Spartan Shield. (Colorado National Guard photo)
The approximately 300 members of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery departed Colorado Dec. 6, 2021 for Fort Bliss for several weeks of pre-deployment training.
The 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery is currently part of the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Attached to the 1-121st is Battery A located in Hartford, Wisconsin; Battery B located in Plymouth, Wisconsin; 108th Forward Support Company located in Sussex, Wisconsin. The 1-121st FA originally operated M109 howitzer before going to M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) in 2003. Since 2010, 1-121st FA operates the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a combat-proven wheeled artillery system that is rapidly deployable via C-130 military transport aircraft and usable in all weather and visibility conditions. The rocket launcher system is mounted on a modified five-ton frame from the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).
The M142 HIMARS provides responsive, highly accurate and extremely lethal surface-to-surface rocket and missile fire from 15 to 300 km. It can fire all munitions from the currently planned suite of the MLRS Munitions Family (MFOM), including the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles and MLRS Guided Rockets (GMLRS). The vehicle carries either six rockets or one missile, is self-loading and self-locating, and is operated by a crew of three soldiers.
For this mission, the U.S. Army’s 121st Field Artillery essentially cut a standard four-launcher platoon in half, adding maintenance, communications, and medical support personnel to the two-launcher force set. This facilitated the dispersal of rocket artillery support into the US Central Command area of operations.
1st Lt. Ryan Hommen, General Manager of Battery A, is the officer in charge of the 10-person detachment, which also consists of three launcher section leaders, three launcher crew members, two fire direction control team and a maintenance soldier.
Operation Spartan Shield reinforces U.S. Central Command’s strategic objectives to counter, protect, defend, and prepare, while building partner capabilities in the Middle East. This deployment was described as essential to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to the security and stability of the nation’s partners in the Middle East and Central Asia.