on the evening of September 1, 1950 we slipped majestically
Although 3/11 was spread over seven ships,
I directed that each battery commander and key staff officer do his best to
conduct whatever training was feasible. On the
USSBayfield (APA-33) the
communications section, among others, were able to get in urgently needed
drills. In fact, the FDC had to be organized and trained almost from scratch
since we had brought only four trained men from
The FDC, the three firing-battery executives, the eighteen gun section chiefs and their gunners, and the communicators that tie them all together make up the gunnery team. The gunnery team is the heart of the field artillery battalion. It is a heart that must beat powerfully and with precision, promptly converting observer calls for fire into battery fire commands. The fire commands are then quickly translated into range and deflection settings for each howitzer. The speed and accuracy of this operation is the real measure of an artillery battalion. Of course, the battalion must be positioned and repositioned tactically so that it can do its gunnery job most effectively. The battalion must also be protected from interfering forces and supplied with ammunition.
The FOs, the communicators, and the service elements are also a vital part of the battalion, but it is the gunnery team that must deliver the battalion's fire-power in appropriate quantity where and when needed. This takes knowledge, training, teamwork, and dedication to the fire points of gunnery at every level. That proficiency in this critical area was attained despite the handicaps (not the least of which was the cold fact that the FDC had not controlled a single round of the battalion's fire in training) speaks volumes about the caliber of 3/11 personnel.