Fire Mission

Kilo Battery – Guns 1 and 2 on Hill 65

February 12, 1968

During lunch I sat and talked with Sergeant Bivens, the “Gun Chief” of Gun 1.  He offered to give me a tour of his “Gun Pitt” and show me the ropes of how 155mm artillery worked.  “Come over after the convoy arrives.”  (Ammo trucks had to be unloaded first.)

I took him up on the offer; Bivens with his six-man crew walked me through the process of firing a round.  First a fuse was attached to the 95 pound round before loading it into the gun tube.  Then a bagged powder charge was pushed in place behind the round, and the breech was closed.  After that, a charge with a blasting cap was inserted into the primer unit, and the gun was ready to fire.  Pulling the lanyard would trigger the firing pin . . .  the round would then fire.  the process was a bit complicated but gave me a basic understanding of the sequence involved in firing a gun.

The battery’s wind-up siren went off . . . “Fire Mission!”  Bivens pointed to a wooden box and said, “Sit.”  The coordinates came in through his headset, and he rotated the gun into position.  The progression of fusing a round and loading the gun was happening as I sat and watched.  Someone warned me to cover my ears, and Bivens pulled the lanyard.  KABOOM!  The guns were firing six rounds each – the mission was completed in less than three minutes.

The crew was laughing at me when the fire mission was over.  It was a powerful demonstration, and I was amazed at the precision involved; there was no room for error.  These kids had a difficult job and were always ready, day and night, to support the Grunts in the field.

Next Edition:  Rice Hull Pillow

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s