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Inside this issue Message from RG6/RG7


Combatives Training


Competitors List


West Point Cadets


Promotions and Re-up


The Rail Gunner

Monthly Staff Commander COL John C. Thomson, III Command Sgt. Maj. CSM Kelvin A. Hughes Rail Gunner PAO NCOIC SSG Kyle Richardson Rail Gunner Journalists SGT Lucas Hoskins SPC Dalinda Salazar

41st Fires Brigade “Rail Gunners!!”

Photo by Spc. Dalinda Salazar, 41st Fires Brigade PAO Participants of the 41st Fires Brigade Best By Test complete a two-mile run during the physical fitness portion of the competition, June 17, here. 102 Soldiers from around the brigade competed in the competition to identify the best in the brigade. The Best By Test is a quarterly competition to test sections throughout the brigade. The last competition was held in 2004.

Story and photos by Spc. Dalinda Salazar 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

FORT HOOD, Texas— Competition was fierce as 102 Soldiers throughout the 41st Fires Brigade competed for the title of best by test for the brigade June 14 through 17. The competition consisted of four main events: weapons familiarization, a MOS specific written test, MOS specific hands-on competition, and a physical fitness test.

“This competition happens quarterly but this is the first competition since 2004,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Lee, Saratoga, Calif. native and launcher chief with the Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment. “These events are well planned out but due to deployments we haven’t been able to conduct the competition.” The competition challenged soldiers in multiple jobs to come together and work effectively as a unit. See TEST, Page 3



July 2010

Rail Gunner 6 & 7 Send

Colonel John C. Thomson, III 41st Fires Brigade Dear Rail Gunner family:

We trust that everyone had a safe, relaxing Independence Day and was able to enjoy time with friends and family over the four-day weekend. We enjoy freedom and our wonderful American way of life because of the dedication and sacrifices of our military, so thank you for your continued service to our great Nation. Rail Gunners continue to excel in many endeavors and June was no exception. Our senior Noncommissioned officers planned and executed a first-class “Best By Test” competition June 14-17 to recognize the top maintenance, food service, fire direction, personnel, communications, supply, and launcher sections from the Brigade. The competition was fierce and exhibited phenomenal performances by all participants. Thank you for a job well done and for inspiring excellence in our ranks! Under the expert coaching and

leadership of 1SG Edgar Fuentes and SFC James Platt of 2-20 FA, the Brigade entered a team into this year’s Fort Hood Combatives Tournament, June 28-1 July. After not even fielding a team last year, our 24 Warriors represented the Brigade in outstanding fashion over four days of tough fighting, finishing in the top ten. They left everything they had on the mat and we are very proud of them. Throughout the rest of the month, most batteries/companies will be in the field for 4-5 day training exercises, but they do not include weekends. These exercises are in preparation for our premier training event of the quarter, the conduct of battery -level evaluations in September. While we had originally planned to deploy to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin or Fort Polk, Louisiana for this event, we will now be doing these important evaluations in the Fort Hood Training Area. Although closer to home, plan on our Soldiers being in the field from September 13th to September 30th. Other upcoming important events include the U.S. Army Soldier Show on July 23rd, a Brigade Golf Tournament on July 29th, and a III Corps Training Holiday on August 6th. Additionally, the monthly 1st Cavalry Division Distinguished Service and Welcome ceremony on Cooper Field is on August 3rd at 9:00 a.m. If you have never seen a “Cavalry Charge”, this is a superb opportunity to bring out the family to see the 1st Cav Horse Detachment in action. Four of our wonderful volunteers will also be recognized at this ceremony: Julie Curran from 589th BSB, Samantha Swigart from 2-20 FA, Shaunta Underwood from 1-21 FA,

Command Sergeant Major Kelvin Hughes 41st Fires Brigade CSM and Theresa Childers from HHB. Finally, we had to say good-bye to our Military Family Life Consultant, Ms. Arlene Holt, who provided our Soldiers and Families with fantastic support. The good news is that her replacement, Ms. Donna Turnage, is already on board and ready to serve our needs. We also welcome Ms. Andrea Nunez, who took over as our Brigade Family Readiness Support Assistant (FRSA) in late June and is already doing great things to support our Family Readiness Groups. Our Nation, Army, Families, and Friends depend on you, so please practice sound risk management 24/7 and be safe both on and off duty. We are honored and humbled to serve in your ranks and thank you for all you do, each and every day. It is the magnificent Soldiers and Families that make us

Rail Gunner Strong!

The “Rail Gunner Monthly” is an authorized publication for members of the U.S. Army. Contents of the “Rail Gunner Monthly” are not necessarily official views of or endorsed by the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, Department of the Army or the 41st Fires Brigade. All editorial content of this publication is prepared, edited, provided and approved by the 41st Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office. If you have any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions contact the 41st Fires Brigade PAO office at 254-287-0739 or email Check out the unit’s Website at or on Facebook for additional information.

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 9 TEST, cont. from Page 1

The individual sections throughout the brigade that were tested were Multiple Launcher Rocket Systems, Fire Direction, Food Services, Supply, Communication, Maintenance and Personnel. The Battalions from around the 41st Fires Bde. conducted competitions to see who was best at their jobs and sent the top sections to compete in the brigade competition. The winning team will receive an Army Commendation Medal, a 4-day pass, and a streamer for their battalion guide-on. “These Soldiers are the best of the battalion competition and are competing to see who the best in the brigade is,” said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Scarr, the Brigade Operation NCO and native



Sgt. Sesay Mohamed, Sierra Leone, West Africa native and truck driver positions an empty pod on top of trailer as Pvt. Michael Newkirk, Big Bear Lake, Calif. native and truck driver maneuvers the pod in place during the 41st Fires Brigades’ Best By Competition located on Fort Hood, Texas, June 15. The competition tests the skills of the Soldiers.

Pfc. Andre Figueroa, a native of Tacoma, Wash. and supply specialist for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Fires Brigade completes the sit-ups portion during the physical fitness test of the brigade’s Best by Test competition held on Fort Hood, June 17. The competition included a weapons familiarization , a MOS written test, a MOS specific skills competition, and a pt test.

of Edmonds, Wash. “The comsaid Spc. Alan Koukoui, a power petition promotes esprit de corps generator mechanic for Battery and gives bragging rights for the C, 1st Bat., 21st FA Regt., and a battalion that wins.” native of Alexandria, Va. “The The best by test competition questions seemed to be more started off with a weapon familifor higher ranking nonarization test where the Soldiers commissioned officers, so I had to assemble and disassemfound myself really thinking ble a M16A2, a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, a M240B MG, and a M2 .50 Cal. within a given time limit. “It’s not about weapons familiarization, it’s about weapon proficiency as all Soldiers should be familiar with their weapon,” said Sgt. Jorge Sanchez, a native of Puerto Rico and a supply sergeant for the Headquarter and Headquarter Battery, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment. “We are seeing who the fastest in the brigade is.” The next event was the MOS specific written test which consisted of fifty questions that Pfc. Andre Figueroa, a native of Tacoma, Wash. and supply specialist for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery 41st were related to the Soldiers Fires Brigade assembles a 240B MG during the brigade’s Best By Test competition located on Fort Hood, June 14. The daily job duties. Best by Test Competition tested participant’s weapon famili“The written test was hard,” arity and confidence in one of four events, See TEST, Page 4

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 9 TEST, cont. from Page 3


standard test consisting of two minute push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run after an initial stretch. “We have been doing well throughout the competition and the run,” said Spc. Antonio Johnson, a supply specialist for B battery 1-21 FA and a native

about the answers.” After the written test, the competitors completed MOS specific competition consisting of multiple tasks the group had to complete at a given time limit. “We were hands-on in the field,” said Sgt. Tommy Ferrell, an all-wheel vehicle mechanic for Battery A, 1st Bat., 21st FA Regt. from Memphis, Tenn. “We did a land navigation course and were the only team to find the faults on the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle.” The physical fitness test was the Sgt. Joshua Victor, Baton Rouge, La. native and fire directions NCO with Batfinal event and the tery C, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, locates targets on a map teams completed a during the Best By Competition, Fort Hood, Texas, June 15.

Best Personnel Section HHB, 2-20 FA

Best MLRS section A/2-20 FA

Section Chief: SSG Lonnie Leary

Section Chief: SSG Jordan Lee

SGT Temeshia Best SGT Terrance Parker PFC Bryant Moore

Spc Robert Mullins

Best Fires Direction Center C/1-21 FA Fires Direction Officer: 1LT Cameron Clay Section Chief: SSG Joser Candilario SGT Johnboyd Salazar SGT William Laura PVT Andrew Detwiler

Best Supply Section C/2-20 FA Section Chief: SSG Shru Nena SPC Roricruz, Aubrey

Best Food Service Section 67th FSC/2-20 FA Section Chief: SSG Tobias Jones SGT Luis Arguello SGT Angel Marrero SPC Danielle Sedano

July 2010

of Hattiesburg, Miss. “I am motivated that we will win.” 41st Fires Bde. has many talented Soldiers and this competition gives them a chance to show those talents off. “I think it’s great that the brigade put this together,” said Sgt. Joshua Roth, a wheeled vehicle repairer for Battery B, 1st Bat., 21st FA Regt. from Gibbon, Minn. “All soldiers in the 41st are awesome and I wish that everyone could have been a part of this competition. Each team started off with the same amount of points during all the events. At the end of the competition all scores were totaled and average together to come up with a group score. The names of the winners will be announced at a ceremony scheduled for June 23.

SPC Allison Curry PV2 Delano Taylor PV2 Horace Tinsley PV2 Marvin Hughes

Best Maintenance B co./589th BSB Section Chief : SGT Terry Charlett SGT Franklin Bevel SGT Matthew Prich CPL Robert Coss SPC Grant-Arthur, Derick SPC Daniel DeJesus PFC Xavier Ferrell

Best Retrans commo section HHB, 2-20 FA Section Chief: SSG Ferdinand Cajandab PFC Jimmy Sengdetka



Rail Gunners finish top 10 Story and photos by Sgt. Lucas Hoskins 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

Soldiers of the 41st Fires Brigade prepared themselves to compete against Soldiers all over Fort Hood and various states during the Fort Hood’s combatives tournament sponsored by the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and the Fort Hood’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office, scheduled for June 28 through July 1 at Abrams Gym. The Rail Gunner practiced every day at Starker Gym from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. to conduct strength and conditioning workouts as well as to work on the technical aspects of combatives. The workouts focused on

getting the Soldiers ready for the competition. There was no lack of participation as 33 soldiers from the brigade volunteered to participate in the tournament four soldiers volunteered as coaches. With seven weight classes and two openings per team, everyone did not have a chance to enter the tournament as a part of the 41st Fires Bde. team. However, others were able to enter the tournament as an individual.


Soldiers of the 41st Fires Brigade practice on the mats at Starker Gym in preparation for the upcoming combatives tournament scheduled to begin June 28 at Abrams Gym.

Rail Gunner soldiers of the 41st Fires Brigade practice arm bars in preparation for the upcoming Fort Hood combatives tournament scheduled to begin June 28 at Abrams Gym. Soldiers throughout the brigade practiced and conducted drills for conditioning and techniques at the Starker Gym. Some striking is allowed during the finals.

“It was not easy to choose 14 people for the team,” said 1st Sgt. Edgar Fuentes of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment. “We have a lot of talent and everyone worked really hard for this.” Fuentes, a former boxer and was the team’s captain, took charge of all striking training as well as the physical training sessions. Other coaches included Sgt. First 1st Class James Platt, who has a strong wrestling background. Sgt. Jason Reyes and Sgt. Lucas Hoskins have taken the reins on the Jiu Jitsu portion of the training. “We have such a wide variety of skills on the team, not only with the coaches but also from our teammates,” said Andress. “We have guys who are black belts in taekwondo, other boxers, and

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 9 COMBATIVES cont. from Page 5

lots of guys who have wrestling experience. With that kind of talent, it’s hard to not get better working with them every day.” The Rail Gunners combatives team fought hard with more than half of the team and individual competitors advancing to the second round. One team member advanced into the championship round, 1st Lt. Daniel Sloan, a platoon leader for Battery A,


2nd Bat, 20th FA Regt. The grueling cage match was a persistent battle but the referee called a stop to the fight. From 20 registered teams, the 41st Fires Bde. combatives team ended with an eighth place finish.

July 2010

Sloan took overall fourth place in the welterweight division. This was the first time the brigade has ever had a combatives team. “For little time to prepare, I was proud of the effort from all our fighters,” said Sgt. Lucas Hoskins, an assistant coach for the 41st Fires Bde. “This is the first time this brigade has ever had a team, a top 10 finish is great. I just can’t wait to see what happens at the next tournament.”

HEAVWEIGHT (205 and up) SSG Ernest Priester 575th FSC SSG Roy Salas B/2-20 FA SGT Jeremy May A/2-20 FA

SPC Adam McGee


SPC Rico Dixon

HHB, 41st Fires BDE

SSG Shawn Ortego

HHB, 589th BSB


A/1-21 FA


SGT William Clarke

SGT Andrew Giddins


HHB, 2-20 FA

589th BSB

SSG Nicholas Klein

SGT Charles Schultz

CPL Richard Lee

A/2-20 FA

589th BSB

HHB, 2-20 FA

SGT Jason Reyes

SPC Adam Newey

SPC Chris Baldwin

A/1-21 FA

B/1-21 FA

C/2-20 FA

CPL Ivan Frias

PV2 La Pham


HHB, 2-20 FA

B/1-21 FA

SSG Steven Benz

PV2 Juan Hernadez

Welterweight (141-154)

HHB, 2-20 FA

B/1-21 FA

2LT Daniel Sloan



A/2-20 FA

SGT Branson Hutchens

SGT Latroy Butler

B/2-20 FA

A/2-20 FA

SGT Alex Pathoummachith

SGT Justin Coleman

B/1-21 FA


1LT Williams, Vernon; SGT Andress, Timothy; SGT Lopez, Raul; SGT Lowery, Bret; SGT Rewerts, Joseph; SPC Garrell, Corey; SPC Lawson, James; SPC Lopez, Joshua; PFC Fischer, Michael



Page 7

Future West Point graduates continue to train Story and photos by Sgt. Lucas Hoskins 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

Col. John Thomson, commanding officer of the 41st Fires Brigade, his wife Holly, as well as the Heart of Texas West Point Society, hosted a reception at the Thomson’s residence for the U.S. Military Academy cadets participating in the Cadet Troop Leading Training program, Thursday evening. The reception presented an opportunity to the cadets for time to relax and talk with former West Point graduates and senior leaders. Thomson said that the program is designed to give the ca-

U.S Military Academy cadets participating in the Cadet Troop Leading Training gathered at the residence of Col. John C. Thomson, brigade commander of the 41st Fires Brigade, to enjoy a Texas barbecue and well deserved time off at a reception held in their honor June 10.

Maj. Gen. Dan Allyn, commanding general, 1st Cavalry Division addresses U.S Military Academy cadets with inspirational words during a reception honoring the cadets’ dedication and hosted by the 41st Fires Brigade for students participating in the Cadet Troop Leading Training at Fort Hood this summer. The reception was held at the residence of the Col. John C. Thomson, brigade commander, 41st Fires Bde.

dets a feel for what life in the Army is like outside of the classroom. “West Point is not what people like to call the real Army, so it lets the cadets have the real-life experience of what it’s like in the real world to lead troops,” said 1st Lt. Dave Meador, a platoon leader in Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment. Meador, a 2008 graduate of West Point, along with other platoon leaders on post, are sponsoring some of the cadets enrolled in CTLT. “I’m grateful for this opportunity,” said Cadet Jonathan Greeny, a sophomore at West Point. “I knew I wanted to be in the Army and I knew I wanted to be an officer.

Now, I get the chance to do that and better myself as a leader. School is completely different from Fort Hood, it’s good that we get to see what goes on behind the scenes instead of people trying to sell us the Army.” Cadet Aaron Greer, a native of Calypso Montana, said his first days here almost put him in shock. “This has completely exceeded my expectations. “I’ve learned that you have to rely so much on your soldiers and NCO’s because as a lieutenant you really don’t know what you’re doing,” said Greer. When asked what his favorite experience of his time on Fort Hood was Greer replied, “Fort Hood introduced me to CrossFit. Being here has completely changed my perspective of what physical fitness means.” Greeny, who also serves as a manager for the West Point See CTLT, Page 7

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 9 CTLT cont. from Page 7


July 2010

hockey team said he has learned a lot about Army life since being here. “I’ve learned to trust in the NCO Corp. They obviously have the experience and are the backbone,” said Greeny. “We have to use them and their experience as much as possible to build ourselves as leaders.” Among distinguished guests attending the reception was Maj. Gen. Dan Allyn, commanding officer of the 1st Cavalry Division, Military Academy cadets participating in the Cadet Troop Leading Training listen intently to encouraging words and enjoy a who gave his remarks U.S. Texas barbecue as well as deserved time off at a reception held in their honor June 10. The event was hosted by the 41st Fires Bde. to the cadets. wrap your arms around your “You will find you could be was a cadet or a lieutenant that I brothers and sisters in arms, relike me in 1981 when I showed would still be here going into my gardless of their commissioning up to my first battalion, and I 30th year of service, I would source,” said Allyn. was an Army of One as far as have told them they were crazy.” As encouragement for the West Point graduates go. So He also added, “I didn’t join the cadets to keep an open mind this comradery that you have Army for a long time; I joined the after graduation Allyn said, “If enjoyed for the last four years, Army for a good time. Now I’ve someone had told me when I bottle it up. You need to learn to been having a good time for a mighty long time.” This marks the first of three iterations of cadets to conduct CTLT on Fort Hood this year. The second will consist of ROTC cadets and the third will again be West Point students. West Point graduate Richard Powell who now serves as the III Corps historian and is also a member of the HOTWPS said “This event gives the cadets a chance to talk to higher ranking officers that have been in their shoes in a relaxed environment. They get to share their experiences with the cadets and hopefully help to guide them in their Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy participating in the Cadet Troop Leading Training listen intently as former final years of school.” West Point graduates offers pointers during a reception and barbecue hosted by the 41st Fires Bde, June 10.



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July 2010




1-21 FA

Spc. Santana Terrel Darby 2-20 FA

Spc. Nace Eugene Houchin Jr. 589th BSB

Spc. Robert Eugene Coss Sgt. Renardo Dewaun Prevo Staff Sgt. Roberto Perezpalomares

To SFC Staff Sgt. John Hunter- HHB, 41st Fires BDE Staff Sgt. Theodore Mcnatt- 1-21st FA To SSG Sgt. Latroy Butler- 2-20th FA Sgt. Jeremy May- 2-20th FA To SGT Spc. Jeremiah Anderson- 1-21st FA Spc. Joseph Ring- 575th FSC Spc. Lucas Purdin- 575th FSC

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The Rail Gunner Monthly July Edition  

This month's editioin of the Rail Gunner Monthly provides an insight to the 41st Fires Brigade's Best by Test competition, the combatives te...

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