While Spc. Ryan J. Caou­ette simulated preparing rounds for the all-digital M119A3 105 mm light­weight howitzer during gun crew certifications, July 30, he wasn’t necessarily think­ing about readiness and re­siliency. It’s a good bet that the members of his team weren’t either — their atten­tion was focused on showing their leadership they had what it took to emplace, fire and recover their weapon sy stem.

Many of the activities paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Bri­gade Combat Team partici­pate in from the time they show up for physical train­ing to the end of the duty day, are focused on build­ing troopers who are ready to win the current fight and the next, and who are

resilient throughout what­ever challenges may come.

During the week, artillery­men from Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 1st BCT, qualified their gun crews, a few paratroopers took time out of their train­ing to talk about what being ready and resilient means to them.

Spc. Trace A. William­son, with Battery B, said he believes physical training is one of the most important things he and his fellow paratroopers do every day to stay ready and resilient.

“If you’re physically fit and able to perform your du­ties, it becomes a lot easier, especially when you’re lack­ing sleep and motivation,” he said. “If your body’s still running strong it’s easier to overcome everything.”

Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Gutierrez, a sixteen-year veteran, agreed, saying physical fitness is one of the

most important qualities an artilleryman can have.

The battalion master gunner said troopers need to be strong so they can lift and emplace howitzers and they need to have stamina so they can improve fighting positions by digging surviv­ability and machine gun pits. Physical fitness also

plays a major role in suc­cessful airborne operations, Gutierrez added.

“Being airborne para­troopers, once we assume the mission, we should be ready to fight (for) 72 hours continuously, to shoot, move and communicate,” he said.

Readiness and resil­iency are also tied to being mentally tough, Gutierrez said. The master gunner said troopers need to hit the books so they know how to properly sight the guns, use the proper fuses in a variety of rounds and be experts on using their individual and crew-served weapons.

Gutierrez said artillery­men not only participate in a variety of training events to stay sharp, like gunner’s testing, air assault rigging and heavy drops, but are also trained to take care of themselves and their fellow paratroopers. This includes master resiliency, equal opportunity and sexual

harassment/assault response and prevention training.

“Those things are really important, especially master resiliency training, so our (troopers) have resiliency,” the master gunner said.

“If you have resiliency you can calm down and … get the job done in the right manner and be calm under pressure.”

In Spc. Chris J. Aus­purger’s opinion, being calm under pressure has a lot to do with the cohesiveness of a team. Auspurger said developing positive relation­ships with the members of his gun crew is most im­portant to his readiness and resiliency.

“If we’re more of a Family (and) we understand each other, how we act, how we react, it’s just better, we work faster,” he said. “(And) if we get along better, we’re happier too. That’s what really matters, if we’re all happy together.”