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From SOSO to high-intensity conflict: training challenges for FA battalions.

As Field Artillery battalions redeploy from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), they rapidly must move to a level of proficiency in the core tasks of delivering fires more typical of mid- to high-intensity conflict. Nowhere is this transition more challenging than in direct support (DS) and general support (GS) FA battalions. Whereas there is a significant overlap between the collective tasks required for mid- to high-intensity conflict and stability operations and support operations (SOSO) in infantry battalions, in FA battalions, the skill sets are radically different. Moreover, FA battalions normally deploy to OIF/OEF with a battery's worth of combat power or less, so there's little opportunity to train individually, collectively and consistently on the conventional delivery of fires tasks.

At Fort Irwin, California, the National Training Center's (NTC's) fire support observer/controller (O/C) team has trained a number of FA battalions for both mid- to high-intensity conflict and SOSO as well as a number of redeployed units in transition. Based on the units' challenges observed at the NTC, the O/Cs developed a set of "high-pay-off targets" (HPTs)--tasks that, if trained, will bring a battalion most rapidly from proficiency in SOSO tasks to entry-level proficiency in delivery of fires tasks characteristic of mid- to high-intensity conflict.

There are literally hundreds of subtasks for a cannon artillery battalion, and units cannot train them all at once. This article lists those tasks most recommended for redeployed units to train first during their transition, organized in the categories of delivery of fires, fire support, firing battery operations, FA command and control ([C.sup.2]) and FA combat service support (CSS).

Biggest Overall Challenge--Battalion-Wide Section Certifications. The most common and significant trend O/Cs have observed in transitioning units is that all sections need more practice in executing their fundamental individual and section-level/collective tasks--from the fire support team (FIST)/combat observation lasing team (COLT) to battery/platoon fire direction centers (FDCs) to commo and maintenance to howitzer sections. There is a direct correlation between Soldiers' unfamiliarity with processes and equipment and the poor quality of home-station certification programs.

For example, FDCs that don't have an established crew drill can't troubleshoot a routine database error or process a digital fire mission to mission training plan (MTP) standards. More than likely, those FDCs did not have a thorough section certification evaluation at home station.

Another example: Some Bradley FIST (BFIST) sections arrive at the NTC without -10 manuals and are unfamiliar with the correct procedures for powering up and initializing their targeting station control panels (TSCPs). Those sections probably weren't subjected to a rigorous FIST/COLT certification lane administered by experienced senior 13F Fire Support Specialists.


Tough, battalion-driven certification programs that require individuals and sections to demonstrate proficiency in the core tasks of operating their equipment to standard must be the initial block of a battalion's "gate strategy" toward a capstone event, such as an NTC rotation or operational deployment. The evaluations should be objective and quantitative and the results should be documented.

Delivery of Fires. Of all the interdependent tasks that must come together correctly to put steel on target, fire mission processing is the most crucial. That is the process from the receipt of the call-for-fire at the battalion FDC to its transmission to the battery/platoon FDC and then to the Paladin automatic fire control system (AFCS) to the howitzer's first round fired.

The Field Artillery can have the best optics, best-trained forward observers and most precise fire control systems available, but unless the right things are happening in the battery/platoon FDCs, fire missions grind to a halt.

Units returning from SOSO deployments face the challenge of finding the time to train the core fire mission processing tasks, which require "hands-on keyboard" time. The competing demands of garrison routine, personnel turnovers and mandated training are distracters to executing fire mission processing training to standard. In addition, FDCs also must train on digital meteorological (Met) updates, dry-fire verification, database and files maintenance, troubleshooting procedures, battery operations center (BOC)-to-platoon operations center (POC) or POC-to-POC transfers, and more.


Battalions unpracticed in fire mission processing commonly have total processing times of 20 to 25 minutes. The good news is that achieving to-standard fire mission processing times is simply a function of good standing operating procedures (SOPs) and a digital fire support sustainment training program buttressed by an uncompromising command emphasis and scheduled repetition.

* Fire Mission Processing. There is not a lot of value to be gained by the static execution of every mission in the MTP when trying to rebuild skills during the transition. Units should focus on the fire missions that their maneuver commander most likely will expect them to execute. For a reinforcing battalion, this might be counterfire. For a light DS battalion, this might be priority targets or echelonment of fires. For a heavy DS battalion, this might be suppression, obscuration, security and reduction (SOSR) fires. The unit must figure out what missions it most likely will fire and exercise them every chance it gets.

An established digital fire support sustainment training program is the first, best strategy for the unit to train the team in the fire mission processing and maintain skills in the "band of excellence." When the battalion is not executing battery field training exercises (FTXs) or battalion/brigade combat team (BCT) gunnery, its FDCs should train eight to 12 hours a week in digital fire mission processing.

Battalions must incorporate digital fire support sustainment training into the battalion's training guidance and develop a sequential, task-building block plan and enforce it as part of the battalion's training meeting. The unit must start by training the FDCs' basic procedures and then escalate to event-driven battle scenarios involving every part of the battalion gunnery team.

Inventive brigade fire support officers (FSOs), S3s and battalion fire direction officers (FDOs) can turn digital fire support sustainment training into an extraordinarily lucrative multi-echelon event. Commanders must resource it and be visible during the training.

* Meteorological (Met) Dissemination Across the Brigade and Application at the Firing Batteries. Nothing brings a cannon battalion "to its knees" faster than its inability to rapidly disseminate, apply and verify Met--particularly in Paladin battalions, but light battalions are not immune. Whether or not the unit is using handheld terminal units (HTUs), backup computer systems (BUCS) or manual backup, all means of computing firing data must "bump," and that takes time and a lot of practice.

Met dissemination definitely is not the "sexiest" portion of any digital dry-fire or live-fire exercise. But not executing these routine tasks routinely will cripple a battalion, especially during the hours of transition from old to new Met data.

* BOC/POC Handover. The Paladin battalion's FDCs are particularly vulnerable in combat, but any artillery battalion is only three to six vehicles away from being unable to fire. Next to the Firefinder radars, the FDC is the high-value target (HVT) and the enemy's prime target in high- or low-intensity conflicts.

Battalions must be proficient at handing off firing control to an FDC in another platoon or another battery, tasks that many rotational units have not practiced. Most have the procedures in their SOPs but can't tell the O/C when they last executed them.

Battalion FDCs frequently should hand guns from platoon to platoon and battery to battery--should rehearse those procedures ruthlessly.

* Calibration Procedures. Calibration is a seemingly lost but essential art for achieving accurate, predicted fire. The problem is that units don't practice calibration at home station. The issues are that the M93 chronograph is unreliable and calibration requires expending ammunition normally fenced for qualification tables. Commanders are reluctant to spend time and energy on this basic, accuracy task. Nevertheless, it is an essential task in the accuracy equation.

It is highly unlikely that units will know the lots of ammunition they will draw before entering a theater for high-intensity operations. It is even less likely that they will have these same lots available at home station for training. If a battalion doesn't have a calibration baseline, it needs one now.

The battalion's maneuver brigade may find it hard to accept expending about 180 rounds per propellant type-shell family combination to calibrate the lot. But it is far better to expend rounds calibrating during training at home station than expend rounds calibrating during combat operations in theater.

Once in theater, units will have a brief "window" in time and space to calibrate. That means the battalion must have a baseline and be proficient in procedures for second-lot inference before it deploys.

* Registration Procedures. At times in OIF and OEF, units did not have Met data available. Under those circumstances, the choices are to expend rounds to boldly adjust them onto the target in every fire mission or, better, expend a few registration rounds once during every Met validity period. If units have rehearsed the procedures, are knowledgeable about the transfer limits and practiced at transferring corrections, the loss of Met won't mean a significant loss of time or accuracy.

* FA Technical Rehearsals. Units should revisit their tactical SOP (TACSOP) annex that addresses procedures for conducting FA technical rehearsals. FA technical rehearsals verify the unit has the right target information, has a common understanding of the scheme of maneuver and event-based triggers, can attack the targets (achieve technical solutions) from current and proposed positions, and has the right projectile/propellant mixes on the guns/Field Artillery ammunition support vehicles (FAASVs)/palletized load systems (PLS). Units that don't practice conducting FA technical rehearsals to standard, without fail, at the minimum, encounter delays during an NTC battle.

Admittedly, conducting the slow-paced, checklist-driven FA technical rehearsal typical during the pre-line-of-departure (LD) hours of an NTC battle isn't practical in a running gun battle when enemy contact is constant. However, in its OIF after-action reviews (AARs), the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized) Artillery (Div Arty) attested to the value of conducting technical rehearsals, at a minimum, on those critical tasks and targets that time and the enemy situation allowed.

Fire Support. Fire support is another area that ensures a unit can deliver accurate, predicted fires--starting with the FISTers' ability to locate targets accurately.

* FIST Certification. One of the first things the brigade FSO and fire support coordinator (FSCOORD) of the transitioning FA battalion should do is plan and resource a FIST certification program. A thorough certification program gives the FSCOORD and FSO confidence in their FISTs.

Figures 1 and 2 show examples of a BFIST and observation post (OP) certification programs, respectively. The programs must go beyond just completing BFIST Table VIII and encompass all tasks associated with a FIST.

Units can use the tasks in Figures 1 and 2 to develop FIST lanes with task force FSOs and fire support sergeants evaluating the teams. To make the training realistic, the company commander can attend the certification training to issue the order and fire support guidance.

The fire mission tasks training can culminate with either a live-fire incorporated into the FIST lane or an exercise using the guard unit armory device full crew interactive simulation trainer (GUARDFIST).

The advantage of the live-fire scenario is it tests the crew's BFIST knowledge. But it is resource-intensive, and synchronization with the rest of the DS battalion's training plan is difficult.

The GUARDFIST facility calls for fewer resources. It also accounts for four of the five requirements for accurate, predicted fire, allowing the evaluator to focus on target location.

* BFIST Calibration. The BFIST is an excellent tool for the company FIST, but realizing its full value requires proper training and tools. Units at the NTC were challenged to boresight and initialize the targeting station control panel (TSCP). To complicate the challenge, they often were missing the BFIST operator's manual (TM 9-2350-297-10-2 Operator's Manual for Bradley Fire Support Vehicle M7, Turret). First things first, units must ensure all crews have their--10s.

For gunnery, some BFIST crews are boresighting their laser rangefinder (LRF) to the 25-mm cannon to improve their accuracy and times during Table VIII. After the gunnery density, the crews are not re-boresighting to the FIST mode, causing errors from 300 meters to 1.5 kilometers.

Additionally, crews are not verifying the boresighting during tactical assembly area (TAA) operations or after occupying their OPs. Incorrect TSCP initialization procedures have caused target location errors (TLEs) of one to two kilometers

A small number of crews at the NTC initialized their precision lightweight global positioning system receiver (PLGR) with the North American 1927 Datum (NAD-27) and the TSCP with the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS-84) datum. This caused the TSCP to believe it was in a different location than it actually was.

One crew that did not have a PLGR initialized its TSCP with the incorrect grid coordinates.

These problems are correctable through a BFIST leaders course or a FIST certification program. Also, units should add TM 9-2350-297-10-1 Operator's Manual for Bradley Fire Support Vehicle M7, Hull and TM 9-2350-297-10-2 to their inspection checklist to ensure they are present.

* Close Air Support (CAS). CAS is a major force multiplier if a BCT plans and executes it correctly. The FSO and FSCOORD should incorporate CAS and the supporting tactical air control party (TACP) into every training event, from company to brigade.

At the company level, the FIST must know how to conduct Type 2 CAS control. At the task force and brigade levels, the entire battle staff must understand how to plan and employ CAS and conduct airspace deconfliction. The DS battalion must be able to work standard fire orders for suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and marking rounds. The brigade battle drill must modify the times to take into account the average firing times for SEAD and marking rounds.

Units should train on the CAS battle drill and airspace deconfliction whenever possible.

Firing Battery Operations. The groundwork for any battery operation is to plan and prepare for future missions.

* Troop-Leading Procedures. During transition training, units need to focus troop-leading on time management and the battery order's content. It is also useful to train new leaders on these tasks after a high personnel turnover rate.

Batteries must manage their time, maintaining a continuous timeline to ensure critical events are deconflicted and completed to standard. Battery executive officers (XOs) or first sergeants are ideal managers and enforcers of the timeline. Planning and prepping time is very perishable; without a solid timeline, batteries invite mission failure.

The battery commander must develop and brief a solid plan to provide the purpose, method and end-state for the battery. His orders need to address the standard five paragraphs (situation, mission, execution, service and support, and communications).

* Pre-Combat Checks (PCCs)/Pre-Combat Inspections (PCIs). PCCs should occur daily before assuming missions. PCCs can be at the direction of either the battalion or battery. If directed by battalion, the tactical operations center (TOC) must have a means of tracking the progress and completion of PCCs/PCIs. In the absence of battalion-directed PCCs, the battery leadership must develop PCCs relative to the type/construct of the upcoming mission.

PCCs must be outlined in the battalion or battery TACSOP to ensure they are completed to standard and tied to an essential FA task (EFAT). Normally the PCC is the first-line supervisor's task.

PCIs conducted at the sergeant first class (SFC) level and above ensure all PCCs are conducted to standard and identify shortcomings before the unit crosses the LD.

Rehearsals. Like PCC/PCIs, rehearsals must occur before any mission. Rehearsals assure the battery key leaders that the battery understands the mission and required key events for success. The battery commander must prioritize the events to be rehearsed because time is limited and the battery needs to focus on rehearsing its assigned EFATs.


* Ammunition Management. This is everybody's job in a firing battery. Leaders throughout the battery must be aware of what ammunition is on hand and what has been expended. This allows the battery to respond quickly to fire mission triggers and decreases confusion during ammunition resupply.

Section chiefs and ammunition team chiefs track the ammo on hand through DA Form 4513 Record of Missions Fired to ensure the AFCS ammunition inventory is updated. This allows the FDC to pull the information from the AFCS, as needed, to report the ammunition status digitally to the battalion FDC and BOC. The BOC then can track ammunition expenditures and keep the battery leadership, battalion TOC and administration and logistics operations center (ALOC) informed about the status of the ammunition.

Platoon sergeants can monitor the guns and FAASVs to ensure the guns can respond immediately to ammunition triggers. The battery commander can track the overall status to determine when he needs additional ammunition from battalion.

Managing ammunition carefully will result in a battery that won't fail to execute its EFATs due to a lack of the proper ammunition.

* FDC and BOC Tasks. The unit should identify and prioritize the information the FDC/BOC must track and then develop status boards and charts to track and manage this information. (See Figure 3 for the minimum information the FDC or BOC must display and monitor.

The battalion also can identify the specific messages the FDC/BOC must process and use pre-printed message forms that automatically provide multiple copies of the information.

Charts are useful tools in handling some types of information. But before developing charts, units should consider the factors in Figure 4. Units should use the charts in garrison to discover their value and train personnel on their use.

Units also should conduct AARs on their tracking system, identifying what is useful and what they need to improve.

Field Artillery [C.sup.2]. For command and control, FA battalions must have an effective training strategy and focus on developing leaders, teaching staffs to plan and execute operations, and establishing and maintaining TOC security.

* Training Methodology. Units should espouse the crawl-walk-run methodology in developing a training strategy. In other words, training should progress from individual to section to platoon and, if time and resources permit, to battery-level operations. Before moving from one level of training to the next, qualified experts must certify the personnel are trained to standard.

Personnel in low-density military occupational specialties (MOS) should be included in the training. The FA battalion can solicit other members of their BCT to provide technical expertise to train the low-density MOS, especially for certifications (i.e., S6 support for the communications sections). Training plans usually focus more on Soldiers than on leaders and staffs, leaving a training gap.

* Leader Development. The transitioning battalion must emphasize training leaders as it progresses through the crawl-walk-run training. A good place to start training leaders is by reviewing the unit TACSOP. Also, units should validate or refine their TACSOPs before they deploy.

At a minimum, the leaders and staff must understand the reporting requirements and duties and responsibilities outlined in the TACSOP. As a result, the command posts will be able to battle track better.

Professional development sessions are an excellent method to train leaders as well as staffs.

Staff Planning and Execution. Training the staff is particularly challenging. The staff experienced in SOSO certainly has executed the military decision-making process (MDMP) and synchronization meetings/drills in a time-constrained and, indeed, often shooting-war environment countless times. But the staff must modify the processes for the mid- to high-intensity scenarios and train new personnel after turnovers.

The battalion commander must train the staff because no one else will. Using the crawl-walk-run methodology, he can start with professional development sessions and progress through practical exercises.

Commanders can write the MDMP into the training schedule, lock the S3 shop in the conference room and support the training with frequent visits to participate in the mission analysis and issue guidance and intent.

The NTC Wolf Team Wargame and Rockdrill demonstrations are excellent aids to support the staff's professional development. Units may get copies by emailing However, practical application is the most effective training--for example, having the staff present briefings to the battalion and battery commanders with the commanders giving the staff feedback. If possible, the unit can work with the BCT to use an old operations orders (OPORD) to produce an FA support plan (FASP).

Last, the "run" phase can be a simulation exercise with the BCT or an actual field exercise in support of the BCT.

Once the staff is proficient at planning, the training can focus on staff execution. More often than not, staffs take a break after planning and preparation is complete (with the exception of receiving reports during the battle)--in combat they need to keep developing and analyzing the information.


The training can concentrate on the six TOC functions: receive information, distribute information, analyze information, submit recommendations, integrate resources and synchronize resources. These TOC functions can be summed up as information management and staff integration.

A good start to managing information is to develop a battle update briefing (BUB). Focus the BUB on answering the commander's critical information requirements (CCIRs), anticipating the next event and providing assistance to fellow staffers. The staff can apply the results of the BUB to the TOC functions and put the necessary information out on the command net.

But the training should not focus on information gathering and the analysis process to develop products for the twice-a-day or during-the-battle BUB. The staff should focus on developing a plan for the running estimate--continually gathering and processing information to be ready to update the S3/commander at any time to facilitate their decisions based on what's happening--not what happened six hours ago.

* TOC Security. Force protection will be totally different in a high-intensity conflict environment than in SOSO. The SOSO environment tends to offer mutual support in a static site. However, high-intensity conflict is just the opposite.

Units must be prepared to provide their own force protection. They must be proficient in perimeter defense, casualty evacuation and responding as a quick-reaction force. As part of the training, units can incorporate realistic threats to TOC security and have proactive and reactive measures in place.

Field Artillery CSS. Rehearsals, again, are critical; maintenance in SOSO is very different; ammunition resupply in volume is required for mid- to high-intensity conflict; and anticipating CSS needs is different as well as medical skills.

CSS Rehearsals. The transitioning battalion must go back to the standards it once held of conducting a CSS rehearsal and BUB to synchronize the logistics plan with operations. A good CSS rehearsal must include all key players: executive officer (XO). S4, headquarters and service battery (HSB) commander, first sergeants (1 SGs), command sergeant major (CSM), physicians assistant (PA), battalion ammunition officer (BAO), battalion maintenance officer (BMO), etc.

The S4 should run the rehearsal with the XO and CSM ensuring it is executed to standard and the plan is synchronized. Ideally, the rehearsal will be on a terrain model that trainees can walk on but minimally on a map or over the radio. Regardless, everyone needs to engage in the rehearsal.

The S4 should use the operations execution matrix as the guide for the sequence of events and the logistics annex/service support paragraph to fill in the details. Attendees should address their specific actions for each event.

For example, if A Battery is to fire the smoke EFAT and can anticipate receiving indirect fire, the A Battery 1SG should discuss his battery's logistics actions. Firing the smoke EFAT may be an ammunition trigger that sets off a sequence of events. A Battery should report to the ALOC it met the trigger as the ALOC is battle tracking and anticipating the call. This trigger causes the ammo trucks to execute double-loop resupply and for the battalion supply operations center (BSOC) to submit a DA Form 581 Request for Issue and Turn In of Ammunition. The 1SG also should discuss his actions as a result of the indirect fire, such as his casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) plan, equipment recovery plan, personnel replacement process, equipment replacement process, etc. In addition to A Battery's actions, there will be other significant actions at the battalion level--requesting personnel and equipment, tracking casualties, managing ammo and implementing the medical mutual support plan.


Regardless of whether or not the rehearsal is on a terrain model or over the radio, the CSS rehearsal must be interactive and integrated, add friction and force contingency plans. The battalion XO and CSM must enforce this.

* Maintenance. During SOSO, units continue to reach a 100 percent turn-in rate regarding the accountability and completeness on DA Form 5988E E-quipment Maintenance and Inspection Worksheet. Units can refine their turn-in systems because they are in a static position operating from a forward operating base (FOB). Units are concentrated in a single location with battlefield distractions minimal, which allows ample time for day-to-day system improvements. The flow of Class IX and services become fluid and operators are easier to obtain and more readily available for turning wenches.

In contrast, high-intensity operations do not facilitate predictability or a clear battle rhythm. The 5988E turn-in procedures become difficult, and units don't achieve 100 percent accountability. Turn-in is dependent on logistics packages and can be more difficult due to distance, terrain and battlefield distractions.

As a result, the unit's preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) rhythm fluctuates. Often, the battalion and maintenance shop work with each other for the first time, causing the flow of parts to become irregular. Because of the unit dispersion and extended distances, there's less time for direct coordination.

During combat, Class IX parts are annotated by the battery mechanics and the annotations have more error because of inexperienced personnel and the effects of battlefield distractions. The 5988Es often reflect wrong national stock numbers (NSNs) for ordering parts, and the equipment deadline report, known as the "026 printout," is confusing.

Regardless, units should not transfer 026 data to a spreadsheet for supposed ease of readability; the 026 is the Army standard, contains all the information needed regarding the equipment and parts' status and, with practice, is easy to read.

To compensate for these problems, unit prescribed load list (PLL) teams will draw directly from their PLL stock that quickly depletes. Services become next to impossible and the focus usually shifts from conventional services to battle prep and replacing catastrophic losses. Patterns of "fixing" versus "preventing" become prominent.

Ammunition Management Resupply. Many units still embrace the "push" method whereby all flat racks are delivered to the batteries at the beginning of a battle period, irrespective of the battle or FA task. This requires the battery leadership to inventory each flat rack's contents and then do the staff's work of matching projectile/propellants/fuze mixes to each EFAT and computing turret and FAASV loads.

Batteries must be executors at this point, not numbers crunchers. Relegating the battery leadership to the battle calculus that the staff should have done is time-consuming, invites error in view of competing requirements and reduces the time available for the battery's PCC/PCIs and rehearsals.

Units should use the double-loop resupply method. As much as possible, drivers should run the same route: FA trains (FAT) to combat artillery trains (CAT) or CAT to batteries. Triggers for resupply of small arms ammo must be planned for and set. Although units use the double loop as much as possible, they also must employ rearm, refuel and supply points ([R.sup.3]SPs), based on the mission, enemy, terrain, troops-time available and civilians on the battlefield (METT-TC). The [R.sup.3]SPs in the SOP is a great way to resupply the battalion when conducting long movements.

The unit needs to know from whom they request certain types of Class V. The unit requests artillery ammo from the Div Arty and small arms ammo from the brigade support battalion (BSB)/brigade support area (BSA). The FA battalion can create a folder in the BSOC for requesting ammo from Div Arty and then process the request using normal resupply channels.

Units often don't establish triggers for small arms ammo resupply, but in high-intensity conflict, batteries easily can run out of small arms ammo. The unit should identify and plan for small arms resupply triggers as part of the normal MDMP.

Anticipating CSS Needs. Units must track the battle to anticipate what they'll need next and have good visibility of triggers calling for resupply. One way to do that is to create a visual tracking board using icons of some sort to track where CSS elements are on the battlefield. This does not replace the standard tracking charts, but it does provide a quick visual reference.


The chart provides the ability to record combat-configured loads (CCLs) for flat racks, fueler capacity and battery combat power. It also allows the unit to track the movement of combat vehicles from the battery to the unit maintenance collection point (UMCP) and to the BSA when they are evacuated.

Radio/telephone operators (RTOs) should listen to the battalion command net, so they can help anticipate the battalion's resupply needs. It is better to have the FAT or CAT ready to execute and have to hold them for a while than have them scrambling to push a resupply package out.

Units should consider using a forward logistic element (FLE). Although not a true doctrinal formation, the FLE is a time-proven, effective organization. It must have a task and purpose. The type of resupply may change with every battle.

If maneuver is using an FLE, units can piggyback on them and create a slightly larger FLE as the maneuver FLE will be near the rear of the movement formation. This may create a bigger signature, but it also provides more force protection than having a single fueler and two PLSs on the battlefield.

Medical. Battalion aid station (BAS) operations in SOSO are marked by support for QRFs, checkpoints, medical civilian action plans (MEDCAPs), tactical operations, such as raids, and other seemingly compartmentalized events.

In SOSO, CASEVAC is likely to bypass the BAS and go directly to Level II care. The PA and senior medic must maintain situational awareness to track personnel from the point of injury to treatment.

High-intensity conflict is marked more by evacuations to the BAS or ambulance exchange point (AXP) and mutual medical support of batteries within the battalion. The location of the BAS and PA is critical in providing treatment forward but not so far forward that Level II care is out of reach.

Returning to the band of excellence in our conventional delivery of fires tasks will present significant challenges to every FA battalion transitioning after a SOSO mission. But the battalion must ensure that every Soldier and leader has a strong foundation in essential tasks for providing safe, accurate, well integrated and timely fires for maneuver.
Manual Task Number Task Points Score

Assorted Manuals 13F Skill Levels 1, 2 100
 and 3 Written Test:
 Team Average
TM 9-2350-297-10-1 WP 0052 00 Perform PMCS IAW TMs 30
 on M7 BFIST.
TM 9-2350-297-10-2 WP 0085 00
TM 9-2350-297-10-2 WP 0014 00 Initialize TSCP on the 30
 WP 0015 00
ARTEP 6-115-MTP 17-5-5307. Boresight the M7 BFIST. 30
Insert 06-B001
TM 9-1260-477-12 Page 3-8 Perform PMCS on the AN/ 30
 Page 2-8.3 Set up the G/VLLD in a 15
 dismounted role.
TM 11-5820-890-10-1 Page 5-1 Perform PMCS on 30
STP 6-13F14-SM-TG 061-283-1960 Operate the AN/PVS-6 30
STP 21-1-SMCT 113-571-1022 Perform voice 30
 061-355-5101 Prepare the FOS LCU 30
 for operations.
STP 6-13F14-SM-TG 061-355-5100 Prepare the FOS HTU 30
 for operations.
 061-355-5104 Transmit information 15
SOP Conduct PCC/PCI in a 30
TM 9-2350-297-10-1 WP 0076 00 Combat load an M7 15
TM 9-2350-297-10-2 WP 0125 00
STP 21-1-SMCT 071-329-1030 Navigate from one 25
 point on the ground
 to another while
ARTEP 6-115-MTP 06-5-A047 Establish fire support 20
STP 6-13F14-SM-TG 061-284-1011 Post information on a 20
 situation map and
 061-284-3004 Advise supported unit 20
 of friendly fire
 support capabilities.
ARTEP 6-115-MTP 06-1-A048 Plan fires in support 50
 of maneuver operations.

ARTEP = Army Training and Evaluation Program
FOS = Forward Observer Software
G/VLLD = Ground/Vehicular Laser Locater Designator
HTU = Handheld Terminal Unit
LCU = Lightweight Computer Unit
MELIOS = Mini Eye-Safe Laser Infrared Observation Set
MTP = Mission Training Plan
PCC = Pre-Combat Check
PCI = Pre-Combat Inspection
PMCS = Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services
SINCGARS = Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
SM = Soldier's Manual
SMCT = Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks
SOP = Standing Operating Procedures
STP = Soldier Training Publication
TAA = Tactical Assembly Area
TG = Training Guide
TM = Technical Manual
TSCP = Targeting Station Control Panel

Figure 1: Fire Support Team (FIST) Certification Task Sheet for M7
Bradley FIST (BFIST) Operations

Manual Task Number Task Points Score

STP 21-24-SMCT 031-503-2001 Identify chemical agent 10
 using M256 series
 chemical agent detector
 031-503-3005 Submit an NBC 1 report. 15
STP 21-1-SMCT 081-831-1000 Evaluate a casualty. 10
 081-831-1025 Perform first aid for an 10
 open abdominal wound.
ARTEP 6-115-MTP 06-5-C040 Coordinate and control 75
 fire plan execution.
 06-5-A006 Establish an OP (FIST). 100
 061-283-1052 Construct a terrain 40
 061-283-1001 Determine direction 40
 within the target area.
STP 6-13F14-SM-TG 061-283-1002 Locate a target by grid 50
 061-283-1004 Locate a target by shift 50
 from a known point.
 061-283-1003 Locate a target by polar 50
ARTEP 6-115-MTP 06-5-A008 Conduct fire missions
 061-283-1011 Request and adjust area 50
 061-283-1015 Conduct FFE mission. 50
 061-283-1014 Conduct immediate 50
 suppression mission.
STP 6-13F14-SM-TG 061-283-2021 Conduct immediate smoke 50
 061-283-2023 Conduct quick smoke 50
 061-283-2002 Request and adjust FPF. 50
 061-354-2014 Engage a moving target. 50
 061-283-1021 Request and adjust 50
 coordinated illumination.

Legend: FFE = Fire-for-Effect FPF = Final-Protective-Fires
NBC = Nuclear, Biological and Chemical

Figure 2: FIST Certification Task Sheet for Observation Post (OP)
Operations. A FIST member is certified when he scores at least 1001 of
the 1430 points possible in Figures 1 and 2.

Commander's Intent
Commander's Critical Information
Requirements (CCIRs)
PCC/PCI Point of Contact and Completion Time
Essentail Effects Tasks (EFETs)/Essential FA Tasks (EFATs)
Class III/V Status
Combat Power
Tracking Friendly Elements--Battery and Maneuver
Tracking Enemy Elements

Enemy Battle Damage Assessment (BDA)/Force Multipliers: Persistent
Chemicals, Non-Persistent Chemicals, Family of Scatterable Mines
(FASCAM), etc.

Execution Matrix

Figure 3: Minimum Information the FDC Should Consider Displaying and

* Avoid information and chart overload.
* Use of charts in the planning process significantly reduces the
 briefing time.
* Must build a box to store and transport the charts to reduce wear and
 tear on the charts and maximize space.
* Maintain a miniature version of all charts in a notebook for use while

Figure 4: After the battalion has determined the information to be
tracked and displayed, it considers these factors in determining if the
information should be displayed in a chart.

By Lieutenant Colonel Mark L. Waters

Lieutenant Colonel Mark L. Waters is the Senior Fire Support Trainer (Wolf07) at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California. In his previous assignment, he commanded 2d Battalion, 82d Field Artillery (2-82 FA), Steel Dragons, part of the 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, the same battalion in which he had served as the Executive Officer in an earlier assignment. Also in the 1st Cav, he was S3 for the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery and Fire Support Officer for the 3d Brigade. In a previous tour at the NTC, he was the Battalion Fire Direction Trainer (Wolf32) and Light Infantry Task Force Fire Support Trainer (Trantula27). He commanded B Battery, 4-3 FA, in the 2d Armored Division (Forward) during Operations Desert Storm and Shield and then commanded Service Battery, 4-3 FA.
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Title Annotation:field artillery; stability operations and support operations
Author:Waters, Mark L.
Publication:FA Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Previous Article:Battlefield decisions of a battalion commander.
Next Article:FA branch: manning a force in transition.

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