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2nd IBCT, 2nd ID, qualifies JFOs.

The 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 2nd Infantry Division (2nd ID), Fort Carson, Colorado, took advantage of the new Joint Fires Observer (JFO) Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and other training and evaluation to qualify one company forward observer in each of the brigade's eleven maneuver companies and one in each of the brigade's four combat observation lasing teams (COLTs) for a total of 15 qualified JFOs in the brigade.

After our first JFO candidate graduated from the Fort Sill course in February, we reviewed his packet, which revealed there were additional requirements for him to become a qualified JFO. A JFO Course graduate is defined as a certified JFO, but not qualified. The entire process is defined in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) among the Army, Air Force and Special Operations Command.

The MOA defines a certified JFO as one "who satisfactorily completes the appropriate service academic and practical training requirements of a core JFO training curriculum and completes a comprehensive evaluation." The Fort Sill JFO Course satisfies the first requirement.

JFO Requirements to Be Qualified.

The process for a certified JFO to become a qualified JFO requires a considerable amount of home-station training concurrently with an Air Force joint terminal attack controller (JTAC). A qualified JFO is "a certified JFO who has maintained currency by achieving the established minimum recurring training and evaluation requirements."


The JFO meets these requirements by performing the following six fixed- or rotary-wing events.

1. Perform two live or simulated laser-guided weapons system terminal guidance operations events.

2. Perform as a JFO in support of one live fixed-wing close air support (CAS) control. This control begins with the JFO acquiring the target and providing the JTAC targeting data for the JTAC's terminal attack control of Type 2 or 3 CAS.

3. Perform as a JFO during one live night target-marking event using marking devices (i.e., laser or infrared pointer). The event must be at night beyond the end of evening nautical twilight and prior to begin morning nautical twilight. This event, combined with requirement number one, satisfies both requirements.

4. Perform one simulated terminal attack control as a non-qualified JTAC individual using multi-service procedures for the joint application of firepower. Supervision by a JTAC is preferred but not required.

5. Perform one live or simulated abort, which may be accomplished with other semi-annual events.

6. Perform one live or simulated AC-130 call-for-fire.

JFOs must requalify every six months with their qualifications recorded in a JFO evaluation folder maintained with the brigade fire support coordinator (FSCOORD). Both the JFO's maneuver battalion commander and brigade commander must verify the JFO's status as qualified. Units are responsible for creating and maintaining the evaluation folder in accordance with the guidance specified in the MOA and must ensure the folder accompanies the Soldier to his follow-on duty assignment.

The MOA also explains that after the JFO meets the requirements and becomes qualified, the qualified status lasts for six months unless the JFO deploys. The MOA says that "JFOs who deploy fully qualified do not have to maintain currency while deployed in support of combat/contingency operations." The JFO resumes normal training on his first duty day after deployment.

Qualifying 2nd IBCT JFOs. To qualify each of our newly graduated JFOs, the brigade worked with Fort Carson's 13th Air Support Operations Squadron (13 ASOS). The senior JTAC in support of 2nd IBCT was eager to help in the joint endeavor.

13 ASOS quickly helped us develop a training plan to support our new graduates. The program included three days in the classroom and one day in the simulator plus integrating CAS into the pre-National Training Center (NTC) mission rehearsal exercise (MRE) at Fort Irwin, California.

The 13 ASOS also helped identify a JFO-JTAC combination for each sortie flown in support of the exercise. We tried to maintain continuity with each unit's JFOs and the respective unit JTAC as much as possible to develop our joint fires team (JFT) within each of the maneuver battalions. The JFT is as described in the article "Building the Tactical Level Joint Fires Team (JFT)" by Colonel David R. Brown, et. al., in the May-June edition.

Each battalion or squadron JTAC developed a working relationship with his three to four maneuver company or troop JFOs, and the brigade JTAC developed a relationship with the four COLT JFOs. Interaction in the classroom focused on reinforcing what each JFO learned in the Fort Sill JFO Course. The most important benefit of the program was the three days for the JFOs to build a relationship with their respective JTACs.

The JTACs used mapping programs, such as Google Earth, and printed two aerial or urban setting views. The JTAC used the plain aerial view for classroom training while the JFO used the aerial view with graphics. The JFO then attempted to "talk the JTAC onto the target." This reinforced the dialogue and confidence between JFOs and JTACs. After the classroom portion, each JTAC mentored his JFO in the simulator for about an hour with multiple missions.

Finally, the JTAC and JFO were integrated into the company-level military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) live-fire exercises. The JTAC, collocated with the battalion's assault command post (ACP), allowed the company or troop JFOs to be his eyes and help him with Type 2 controls for live-fire CAS. The JTAC and JFOs had rehearsed the process in the days prior with day and night dry-fire rehearsals leading up to the day and night company MOUT live-fire exercise.

2nd IBCT is the first Army brigade to have qualified JFOs throughout the BCT. This success is due to the strong cooperation between the 2nd IBCT and the 13th ASOS and the initial training in the Fort Sill JFO Course.

MAJ Christopher W. Wendland

Fire Support Coordinator

2nd IBCT, 2nd ID, Fort Carson, CO

RELATED ARTICLE: History of the USMC Artillery Detachment at Fort Sill

The first Marines to arrive on the hot and windy plains of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, were not Artillerymen but Infantrymen. In 1917, Marines initially reported to the School of Musketry at Fort Sill. It was 1925 when the first Marine Artillerymen entered the School of Artillery. And ever since the earliest days of the School of Fire in the 1920s, the Marine Corps has maintained a presence at Fort Sill. Initially providing instructors to augment the school, the Marines' level of participation has steadily grown over the years.

The billet of Senior Marine Corps Representative was formally established in the early 1950s as the number of Marine instructors at Fort Sill continued to increase.

With the closing of the Marine Barracks at Naval Ammunition Depot, McAlester, Oklahoma, in 1977, the Marine Corps Administrative Detachment was established at Fort Sill and the Marine Corps Representative was designated as the Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps personnel. The detachment assumed responsibility also for the Marines assigned to the Air Training Command at Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1978.


After the decision in 1978 to centralize all Marine Corps Artillery training at Fort Sill, the number of Marines assigned to the detachment more than doubled, and in 1989, in recognition of its true mission, the detachment was redesignated the "Marine Corps Artillery Detachment." More recently, in 1997, the Marine Detachment was designated the fire support doctrinal proponent for the Marine Corps.

Today, there are approximately 115 Marines assigned to the Marine Corps Artillery Detachment in support of the Army Field Artillery School's mission to train Soldiers and Marines to be the finest Field Artillerymen and fire supporters in the world. More than 1400 Marines come through Fort Sill per year for training.

The Marine Corps Artillery Detachment is headquartered in Brown Hall on McNair Road. In 1992, the building was named after the late Brigadier General Wilburt Scott "Big Foot" Brown, who commanded the Marine Corps Detachment at Fort Sill in 1952. General Brown received a Silver Star for his actions in the Korean War. He earned the nickname "Big Foot" because he was a tall man with large feet.
Colonel John S. Twitchell Jul 1949-Jun 1952
Brigadier General Wilburt S. Brown Jun 1952-Oct 1952
Colonel Frederick P. Henderson Nov 1952-Jul 1955
Colonel Custis N. Burton, Jr. Jul 1955-Sep 1958
Colonel William F. Kramer Sep 1958-May 1961
Colonel Francis W. Benson Jun 1961-Jun 1965
Colonel Francis R. Schlesinger Jun 1965-Jul 1967
Colonel Mark A. Rainer, Jr. Aug 1967-Aug 1970
Colonel William C. Patton Aug 1970-Aug 1973
Colonel Karl N. Mueller Aug 1973-Jun 1977
Colonel Robert W. Heesch Jul 1977-Jul 1980
Colonel Martin D. Julian Aug 1980-Jun 1983
Colonel Ernest B. Beall, Jr. Jun 1983-Aug 1986
Colonel William C. Stroup Sep 1986-Sep 1988
Colonel Kent O. W. Steen Sep 1988-Aug 1991
Colonel Philip E. Hughes Aug 1991-Jun 1993
Colonel Joseph F. Weber Jun 1993-Sep 1995
Colonel Lynn A. Stuart Sep 1995-Aug 1999
Colonel John M. Garner Aug 1999-Aug 2001
Colonel Thomas R. Kelly Aug 2001-Sep 2003
Colonel James A. Pace Sep 2003-Jul 2006
Colonel Scott T. Campbell Jul 2006-

Fort Sill Marine Artillery Detachment Commanding Officers
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Title Annotation:Joint Fires Observer
Author:Wendland, Christopher W.
Publication:FA Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Previous Article:The FA: leading joint interdependency with JACI.
Next Article:Leadership: seeing what is really in the mirror.

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