Big guns protect Balad

Story and Photo by Spc. Naveed Ali Shah
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — A loud, thunderous rumble accompanies the bright tracers which illuminate the night whenever there is an indirect-fire attack here, but this sound and light show should be comforting to the residents of Balad.

The counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar gun addresses the various indirect-fire threats faced by JBB personnel on a daily basis.

The C-RAM, also called the land based phalanx weapons system, fires about 4,500 rounds a minute in order to bring down any sort of missile launched by enemy combatants, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Cody Gilbert, land based phalanx weapons system technician, with the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 33rd Air Defense Artillery.

“JBB doesn’t get attacked all the time, but when it does, we have the C-RAM,” said Gilbert, a native of Washougal, Wash.

The C-Ram protects Balad in three ways: sensing imminent attacks, warning service members in the vicinity of the attacks, and intercepting the object by firing 75 rounds a second, bringing it down, said Gilbert.

With the C-RAM keeping a watchful eye on the skies above Balad, Soldiers and Airmen can rest safely, he said.

Gilbert said, “It’s reliable and it should make everyone here at Balad feel safer.”


news photo
Petty Officer 2nd Class Cody Gilbert, land-based phalanx weapon system tech, 33rd Air Defense Artillery, cleans the barrel of a counter-rocket, artillery, missile weapons system. The C-RAM provides security for personnel here at Joint Base Balad.
(US Army Photo by Spc. Naveed Ali Shah; 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs)