Staff Sgt. Matthew Scott (left), a native of Ventura, Calif., and section chief, Sgt. Philip Nommay, a gunner who hails from Indianapolis, and Pfc. Enos Mowatt, an assistant gunner from Seattle, all assigned to B/2-377th PFAR, fire an M1NC high-explosive round out of a 105-mm howitzer at COP Herrera March 26. (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson)
Sgt. Johnny Washburn, a native of El Reno, Okla., and a howitzer gunner, dials in a good sight picture on an M-119 105-mm howitzer at Combat Outpost Herrera, March 26. Washburn is part of B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 377 Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Spartan Steel. Soldiers of B Battery fire howitzers in direct support of infantrymen of 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment. (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson)
by Army Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson
Task Force Spartan Public Affairs
4/5/2012 - PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Chosen Company, 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Gold Geronimo, has a majority of its troops on Combat Outpost Herrera patrolling the area of operations, and providing fire support for them is the task of 4th Platoon, B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Spartan
"Out here, our primary mission is to support the 509th," said 1st Lt. Frank Worsham, a native of Dallas, and B Battery's 4th Platoon leader.
Herrera is located in a heavily mountainous region north in Paktya province. During the winter months snow blankets the region.
"The difference between this COP and the others is this COP is higher in elevation," Worsham said. "It stays colder longer, and because we are so high it affects the trajectories of the rounds a lot. We have to (consider) that a lot more than the other COPs."
Worsham said that one advantage of the mountainous terrain is the natural cover it provides. "We can have our (forward observers) take cover as they call in for fires (munitions)."
"We are near the Pakistan border," Worsham explained. "There are a lot of weapons smuggling coming in through this area, so we really have to watch out for that. We have to keep our eyes on the mountains."
Worsham said being in an isolated and high-elevated COP has its advantages as well as disadvantages.
"There was a lot of trouble in the beginning getting our equipment out here," Worsham said. "The snowy weather made it difficult to transport supplies."
The 4th platoon has been at COP Herrera since December and, according to Worsham, aircraft were only able to fly once a week throughout the winter due to weather.
"Other than getting supplies out here, this COP's been perfect," Worsham added. "I can't complain at all."
Staff Sgt. Michael Hargis, a 4th Platoon section chief and Oklahoma City native, anticipates more activity as the climate grows warmer.
"We don't really shoot (the 105mm howitzers) that often," Hargis said. "Right now, we make sure our rounds are registered and calibrated. We make sure we have all our data right ... We know exactly what the rounds are going to do. We have time to do maintenance and make sure everything is tight."
7/29/2012 9:55:21 AM ET I believe my son is at this base...he was last year when he deployed. He said a mortar went through his roof last week destroying his iPhone. He told me to look on Reuters to see an article about a Chinook helicopter in a dream sequence If you know of the article please send me a link I'm very worried. My son is Sergeant and he might be too busy to respond.