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"First Round" for 5th Battalion

Artillery unit headed to fight ISIS

A HIMARS fires a missile during training conducted by 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, at the Yakima Training Center. Photo credit: 17th FA PAO

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Fifth Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment commander Lt. Col James Dunwoody was anxious to get out the door.

The unit is part of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade, which is under the command of Col. Andrew Gainey.

"We are ready to deploy," Dunwoody said during a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon.

"It is time to travel."

The battalion is no stranger to deployments; it has seen multiple tours in support of this country's interests in the region.

Earlier in the day, the 360-soldier regiment formed up at the Wilson Sports & Fitness Center to case the unit's colors.

During his remarks, Dunwoody talked about the battalion's heritage.

It is a storied history.

The battalion's origins can be traced back to the late 1700s when it was part of the 2nd Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers.

As to its unique motto of "First Round," that was earned at the start of the Civil War when Battery D - the forerunner of the battalion - fired the first shot at the Battle of Bull Run.

The battalion is also credited with beginning the tradition of playing "Taps" over the grave of a fallen comrade.

During this deployment, the battalion will deploy to southwest Asia for nine months in support of U.S. Army Central Command and the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.

The battalion is ready.

"We've trained hard and well," said SFC Glenn Garrison, during a telephone interview.

"We started with a new crew of soldiers, and it has been formed into a cohesive unit.  Every one of them knows their job; they work well as a team."

Training took place at the National Training Center and the Yakima Training Center.

The battalion brings to the fight against ISIS the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

It packs a punch.

It is a light multiple rocket launcher mounted on a standard Army medium tactical vehicle truck frame.

The HIMARS' purpose is to engage and defeat artillery, air defenses, trucks, light armor and personnel carriers.

Once fired, the HIMARS can be moved quickly to another firing site.

"We are ready to go; our training has been very intense," continued Garrison.

Along with the artillery training, the battalion was also used to fight fires a couple of summers ago in eastern Washington.

For the past two years, 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, has trained to prepare for the deployment.

While the centerpiece of its mission revolves around the firing of well-placed rounds on ISIS positions, it also involves building theater cooperation and capabilities with other nation's forces.

"Our mission is diverse," continued Dunwoody.  "We understand it very well; our soldiers are ready to go."

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