From Fort Bragg.
The British are coming!
Capt. Joseph Bush, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The British are coming! The British are coming! One if by land, two if by sea, three if by air?
On Dec. 2, two 105mm artillery pieces with about a hundred rounds each, and one Pinzguaer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle from the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, British Army, arrived by land to Fort Bragg from Marine Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, North Carolina after a month-long journey across the “pond.” While here, the British L-188 Light Gun will go through testing to later be air-dropped from a U.S. military cargo aircraft.
“Due to the superb support from the 82nd Airborne Division logistics staff and the 82nd Sustainment Brigade, specifically the 8th Ordnance Company, 82nd Division Artillery was able to receive U.K. equipment from the 7th Para in preparation for Exercise Pegasus Cypher from Jan. 9-15 and, as a proof of concept, for larger deliveries of equipment from the U.K. for Joint Operational Access Exercise 15-01,” according to the 82nd DIVARTY logistics officer Maj. Christopher Masson.
The British artillery is here to participate in Operation Pegasus Cypher. It is one of the first joint artillery exercises of its kind designed to integrate both nations’ systems.
Then it will be used in an airfield seizure exercise in April with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div.
“Your [the 82nd Airborne Division’s] platform is perfect for us. There is no platform in England that supports this gun and the Pinzguaer in service now,” said British Sgt. Phil Armitage, gun line section commander with 7th Para.
The artillery piece and truck will undergo several tests by the United States Army Advanced Airborne School to come up with a rigging solution for use in multiple training exercises between now and April. Once complete, the British artillery cannon can be dropped from any American aircraft in the world.
“We haven’t done anything like this since 1996,” said British Sgt. Maj. (CWO2) Carl Andrews, 7th Para Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. “It’s a small exercise to build on something bigger in the future.”
Although there is little language barrier between the two allies, there is a communications gap between systems that don’t talk to each other. 82nd DIVARTY has come up with several methods to improve communications and work around the non-integrated that can be used in future joint interoperability exercises. 2nd Battalion 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment will be conducting Pegasus Cypher where British and American artillery Paratroopers will be working together to validate the proof of concept and learn how to communicate and fire artillery rounds using those different systems and techniques.
Staff Sgt. Andre Garson, the 82nd DIVARTY movement non-commissioned-officer, said he learned a lot in the last few days about the British military. “It’s been an awesome experience to learn about their Army and how they work.” He said now he can help others in his unit understand how they operate as well.
“When we send blokes in January they will know what to expect from the horse’s mouth,” said Armitage.