By Sgt. Daniel Kyle Johnson (2nd BCT, 25th ID )May 3, 2013
Soldiers of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conducted fire support certifications throughout April at Area X and East Range to ensure the indirect fire capabilities of the brigade met the establish standard.
"These are semiannual certifications for the support teams within the brigade," said Capt. Andrew Krumm, the assistant fire support officer for 2nd SBCT. "We've been rotating through four battalions' fire support teams."
"The purpose of this is to ensure a standard is set and maintained," said Spc. Ezra Joseph Cerrentani, a member of the common observation lasing team, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd SBCT. "It is important we maintain a high standard so that the commander can have a high confidence level in his fire supporters."
The certification is a two-day event designed to test all the components of a fire supporter's job requirements.
"Day one has a written exam covering all three skills levels for fire support officers, NCOs (noncommissioned officers) and Soldiers," said Krumm. "After the written exam, they move on to the call for fire trainer to have their skills evaluated. Officers are given a maneuver plan they must brief using a sand table."
The second day of the event is more physical, requiring long foot marches along the rough terrain of Schofield's East Range.
"Day two is done at the East Range to assess the Soldier's ability to perform land navigation and set up observation posts," said Krumm.
"This is a time to shine on one hand, but also know what you've done wrong, so you can improve," said Cerrentani.
"It is important to give a warm and fuzzy, if you will, to a fire support team," said Krumm. "The certifications allow us to know that we are capable as ire support teams to operate and support the maneuver element with timely and accurate indirect fires."
"You get to see what you taught your Soldiers and how well that has paid off in the long run," said Cerrentani. "You learn a lot by teaching them."
Indirect fire is an important part of any combat operation, allowing for devastating firepower at long range to the units that need them. These certifications help to ensure that when the Soldiers on the ground need that support, it will be on time and accurate.