Long Knives lengthen strike range with air-to-ground training
March 19, 2008
FORT HOOD - Part of the Long Knife Brigade's preparations for deploying to Iraq include integrating aerial assets into ground training.
The 1st Cavalry Division's newest unit, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, focused efforts on bringing aviation into its skill set during a training exercise on North Fort Hood's training ranges March 6.
Once properly trained, the brigade's Soldiers can engage enemies, and then call in artillery, attack helicopters and Air Force fighter jets to assist in battle.
The Army has field artillery assets such as forward observers and joint fires observers coordinate with the Air Force to deliver damage on enemy forces and targets.
Additionally, the observers enable ground units to leave the safety net of the artillery's reach, according to Sgt. Christopher Naimo, an Army fire support specialist assigned to Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment.
"If there's a big dry spot where no hot (artillery) guns can reach," Naimo said, "then the Air Force's close air support can reach those areas."
But getting that support coverage requires first-hand knowledge of how the Air Force does business. While both the Air Force and Army are filled with knowledgeable people, the two services do things differently and speak in different terms. For instance, an Army sergeant is the same pay grade as an Air Force staff sergeant.
The 4th BCT's Fires and Effects Cell, also called the FEC, is the information hub that moves data and orders between the two services.
"This training gives our guys a chance to learn the Air Force's terms and language," said Maj. Brian Flores, the Long Knife Brigade's assistant fire support coordinator. "It's a complicated process to call in fire."
The training will allow the Long Knife Soldiers to interact with their aerial comrades to defeat enemy forces.