Strykers Conduct Digital Fires Support Coordination Exercise
March 12, 2014
A lot of training is involved in forming Army leaders. Many newly commissioned Army officers have a lot to learn and are often not presented with an opportunity to simultaneously integrate the multiple fires support platforms along with the additional enabling components in a maneuver company, an issue Maj. Matthew Hammons, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division brigade fires support officer, hopes to address head-on with a Digital Fires Support Coordination Exercise.
?"My goal is that they walk away with an appreciation of how to plan so that they integrate their fires support assets and capabilities," said Hammons.
The program includes representatives from multiple units to advise each company on the implementation and application of their assets in order to achieve the commander?'s intent. Pilots, field artillery, electronic warfare, mortars and Joint Tactical Air Controllers use a Virtual Battle Space Simulation System, workstation during the simulation to engage targets in support of the company participating in the exercise.
?"We have junior Soldiers, we have junior officers (participating). It has really been great for those younger guys to figure out how to work these systems and how every part helps the other part," said Hammons.
One of those young Soldiers, Pfc. Josh Caprarello, a forward observer with B. Co. 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, participated in the DFSCE for the first time last year, almost immediately after completing his advanced individual training.
?"It threw me into a new experience and helped me get a running start on my job and what I should know," said Caprarello who is participating in the training again this year .
Over the three day training the company commander, platoon leaders, fire support officer and company fire support team work together to develop a plan and execute a company mission. The plan is executed on the third day using the V2VBS2. The simulator allows the maneuvering of formations and engagement of targets with direct fire, indirect fire, fixed wing aircraft and rotary wing aircraft.
?"It?'s not often that you?'re able to plan and coordinate so many resources at one time and utilize them on the battlefield simultaneously." said Lt. Ruben Morris, 1st platoon team leader B. Co. 1-5 IN. ?"The higher you go up (in position) the more planning considerations you have to take in and the more you have to factor in to your plan. Going forward as platoon leader to company commander and on the brigade staff, it gives you a very realistic idea of how to utilize those assets on the battlefield."
Hammons said having young leaders participate in the exercise will enable them to see the systems used to their fullest capabilities and they will be able to carry it forward with them throughout their career.
?"We continue to grow next month, next year?'s leaders; this is just another way to do that but the beauty of this particular exercise is that early on in these leaders careers their seeing how these things can and should be integrated to make the most synergistic, most coherent fight possible," Hammons said. ?"Fires support is only as good as maneuvers Soldiers who are out there executing- they should not be anywhere separate in planning or in execution, that?'s what we?'re trying to teach."