Artilleryman finds success playing unfamiliar role

Brian Trahan

Private First Class Jonathon Owens, who hails from Norwich, Conn., is a cannon crewmember but he has yet to touch a cannon since his arrival to eastern Baghdad in November. Instead, he is fulfilling an unfamiliar role as a member of a dismounted maneuver fire team with Battery A, 5th Battalion, 25th Artillery Regiment, which is part of Multi-National Division - Baghdad’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light).

This nontraditional role is not necessarily unusual for artillerymen deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In fact, Owens said he finds his new role both challenging and exciting because each day brings something just a little bit different.

“It’s pretty wild,” he said. “Sometimes we’re out doing combat patrols in the morning or afternoon, and that night we might be doing a raid with the Iraqi Army to take bad guys off the street.”

Even though Owens is trained to serve as a cannon crewmember, he is highly successful as a member of a maneuver fire team. He has earned the respect of his leaders and his peers.

“Owens is a tough soldier,” said Cpl. Jorge Delgado, a native of Boynten Beach, Fla., who is  Owens’ team leader. “When dismounted, he carries the Squad Automatic Weapon, or M-249 SAW. It’s quite a burden when you take into account the extra 400 rounds he carries for it, but he does it well, extremely well.”

“Pfc. Owens is a dependable soldier who can get the job done,” said Sgt. Derrick Randle, who is from Gainesville, Fla. Randle is a noncommissioned officer in Owens’ platoon.

Leesville (La.) Daily Leader