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A rocket launches as soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade conduct a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020.
A rocket launches as soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade conduct a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020. (Immanuel Johnson/Stars and Stripes)
A rocket launches as soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade conduct a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020.
A rocket launches as soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade conduct a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020. (Immanuel Johnson/Stars and Stripes)
A practice rocket fires as 41st Field Artillery Brigade soldiers train from the Multiple Launch Rocket System during a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020.
A practice rocket fires as 41st Field Artillery Brigade soldiers train from the Multiple Launch Rocket System during a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020. (Immanuel Johnson/Stars and Stripes)
Staff Sgt. Robert Chronister, a section chief with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade, ensures practice rockets are loaded in the Multiple Launch Rocket System before a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020.
Staff Sgt. Robert Chronister, a section chief with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade, ensures practice rockets are loaded in the Multiple Launch Rocket System before a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020. (Immanuel Johnson/Stars and Stripes)
Soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade wait for commands inside the Multiple Launch Rocket System during a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020.
Soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade wait for commands inside the Multiple Launch Rocket System during a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020. (Immanuel Johnson/Stars and Stripes)
A soldier with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade observes from the Multiple Launch Rocket System at a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020.
A soldier with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade observes from the Multiple Launch Rocket System at a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020. (Immanuel Johnson/Stars and Stripes)
Soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade launch a practice rocket from inside the Multiple Launch Rocket System during a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020.
Soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade launch a practice rocket from inside the Multiple Launch Rocket System during a crew recertification training exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, May 8, 2020. (Immanuel Johnson/Stars and Stripes)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The 41st Field Artillery Brigade launched multiple rockets Friday in a live-fire exercise emblematic of the Army’s plans to beef up its firepower in Europe.

“Having the fires brigade in Germany speaks to the Army’s overall priority of getting the long-range fires back into the Army,” battery commander Capt. Rex Swindlehurst said.

The M270A1 is a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher in service since the 1980s, with a top range of more than 100 miles. It has been used by a number of NATO countries and allies around the world.

The unit on Friday fired reduced range practice rockets, which can travel about 9 miles.

During the Cold War, the 41st FAB spent 33 years in Germany before being withdrawn in 2005.

Plans call for the unit, which arrived in Grafenwoehr in 2018, to receive a second field artillery battalion in September, brigade commander Col. Seth Knazovich said during the exercise.

“We will be at our authorized strength at that point,” he said. “We will have two MLRS battalions, the brigade support battalion, the brigade signal company as well as headquarters established in Grafenwoehr.”

The brigade’s move to Europe was an early result of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, spurred by a U.S. priority of boosting NATO’s collective defense in the face of a militarily more assertive Russia.

The coronavirus outbreak hasn’t adversely affected brigade training, commanders said.

“Our soldiers ... understand the serious nature of the pandemic and do their part to stop the spread,” Swindlehurst said.

johnson.immanuel@stripes.com Twitter: @Manny_Stripes

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Manny covers the U.S. military in Bavaria and Central Europe for Stars and Stripes. A Seattle, Washington native, he’s an alumnus of the Defense Information School, American Public University and Liberty University.
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