FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan, December 27, 2010 - Task Force Currahee conducted its first artillery cannon sling-load mission, called a "gun raid," during the Operation Toccoa Tukarah III in Paktika Province December 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, A Battery, 4th Battalion, 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 LTC Robert Fouche, executive officer of TF Currahee, 4th BCT. "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.