First Team holds Fire Support Conference
October 1, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - The importance of having a well trained fire support element and its ability to be a decisive combat element on the battlefield is invaluable, said the 1st Cavalry Division commanding general.
The First Team in collaboration with the 41st Fires Brigade hosted a Red Team Fire Support Conference at Fort Hood's Club Hood Sept. 2 to discuss Fires knowledge and standards that govern 1st Cav. Div. Fire Support training.
Key participants included Maj. Gen. Dan Allyn, Division Commander; and the division's brigade commanders, Col. Scott Efflandt, 1st Brigade Combat Team commander; Col John Peeler, 2nd Brigade Combat Team commander; Col. Doug Crissman, 3rd Brigade Combat Team commander, Col. Brian Winski, 4th Brigade Combat Team commander; Col. J.T. Thomson, 41st Fires Brigade commander; Maj. Shawn Huggins, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade Operations Officer, all accompanied by their Fire Support Coordinators, Artillery Battalion Commanders, and the 1st Cav. Div. Fire Support Element.
The conference was the first division level Fire Support Conference in recent memory since the 1st Cav. Div. DIVARTY "Red Team" inactivation on June 30, 2005. During the conference, Allyn and his subordinate commanders discussed current Fire Support trends in both the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation, reviewed full spectrum Fire Support training initiatives, and concluded with approval of the 1st Cav. Div. "Redbook".
The Redbook is a collection of shared Fires knowledge and standards that govern 1st Cav. Div. Fire Support training and applies to all Fires units across the First Team, including cannon, rocket, and mortar delivery units, forward observers, and fire direction centers. Additionally, it also applies to critical elements that ensure accurate, timely, and decisive fires such as counterfire radars, meteorological stations, and survey teams. According to its introduction, "The First Team Redbook is a product of the leaders of Fires units assigned to the division. It is a compilation of standards that provide tactics, techniques, procedures and standards to be used by First Team leaders to effect fire support training." It identifies not only the training requirements and strategies, but also the frequency with which the training must be conducted.
Historically, Redbook standards impacted the way a brigade trained and functioned. With today's on-going conflicts and complex operational environments, the Redbook takes into consideration the needs of today's modularized Brigade Combat Teams to adapt and dominate in any operational environment. Additionally, it accounts for the demanding Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle and the requirement to prepare units for full spectrum operations. The Redbook prescribes minimum Fires training standards up to crew level (Table VI qualification) to ensure solid grounding in the basics of all fire support tasks, and also describes collective fires training strategies for platoon-level and higher operations based upon the Brigade's wartime mission.
Allyn noted the importance of leveraging the 41st Fires Brigade, which is under the training and readiness authority (TRA) of the 1st Cav. Div., for expertise in training and mentorship of Fires training at all levels across the formation, similar to what the Division Artilleries (DIVARTY) used to provide. Only two other active duty divisions have a co-located TRA Fires Brigade, so the First Team has a unique opportunity in this regard.
"Crosstalk among artillerymen, especially Fires commanders, is vital to the overall health of the Field Artillery as a branch," stated Lt. Col. Miles Brown, commander, 1st Battalion, 82 Field Artillery Regiment, 1st BCT. "The Redbook is a significant step. While promoting this vital crosstalk, it also provides a gold standard for training across the full spectrum of fire support. The icing on the cake is that today's Fire Support Conference was led by our Maneuver Commanders. Their participation served as confirmation that they understand their responsibility to effectively prosecute all the warfighting functions - not just movement and maneuver."
"The current forum will bring the fire supporters on Fort Hood all together on a common ground in order to conduct training, integration, and synchronization so that everyone understands what the standards are," said Lt. Col. Patrovick Everett, deputy commander of the 41st Fires Bde. "Additionally, it makes sure that we as fire supporters understand everything it takes to get fires integrated into the combined arms fight."
As a conclusion to this year's Fire Support Conference, commanders and staff had the opportunity to receive an update on the Army's latest family of smart munitions currently utilized in combat. Representatives from the TRADOC Capabilities Manager Team for Cannon Systems (TCM-Cannon) provided commanders with an update on the 155mm Excalibur precision munition that has been successfully employed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They also briefed commanders on a new 120mm mortar "Advanced Precision Mortar Initiative" scheduled for fielding in early 2011.
The new 1st Cav. Div. Redbook was signed and published on Sept. 9 and has been provided to the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Okla. While primarily intended for use by 1st Cav. Div., it also offers best practices and lessons learned for our greater U.S. Army Fires community.