Military News

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Face of Defense: Soldier Operates, Maintains Heavy Weapons

By Courtesy Story
210th Field Artillery Brigade

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2015 – The firepower used on today’s battlefield has evolved over many centuries, and perhaps even more evolved than the technology itself are the professionals who operate it.

Routinely found completing dirty and greasy tasks to ensure vehicle functionality is Army Spc. Steven Koroza, a multiple launch rocket system crew member and gunner assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division’s Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade.

As a soldier charged with operating and maintaining a heavy-duty weapon, Koroza has a lot on his plate -- including calling up fire missions and deploying the launchers.

“[In] the field, I call up the missions,” said Koroza, a Baltimore, Maryland, native. “When we are ready and stationed, I call the battery operations center and say we are waiting for fire missions. The BOC will send us the fire mission and, at that time, I adjust the panels and deploy the launcher by saying ‘fire when ready’ or ‘on my command.’”

When not in a field environment, however, MLRS crews shift their focus to system maintenance, he said.

Keeping Machinery Clean is a Dirty Job

“We have to make sure everything is tight, greased down in all the appropriate places and that nothing is broken down or leaking,” he said.

Crew members usually have to get dirty in order to complete their maintenance tasks. Wiping old grease and scraping exhaust residues from cables and rocket holders are just two of many unsavory –- yet important –- maintenance tasks.

Keeping the machinery clean is an important readiness element because proper maintenance maximizes the effectiveness of the rocket system, Koroza said.

If the equipment is not in “tip-top-shape," the communication systems may fail or cause the launch system to malfunction or misfire. That’s why Koroza and other MRLS crew members go to great lengths performing preventative maintenance checks and services each week.

“It starts on Monday, when you are in the motor pool,” said Koroza. “You have to be a hard worker and be able to work under pressure. Having a ‘go get it’ attitude is a valuable mindset of MLRS crew member.”

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