ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Lartvia (March 14, 2016) -- For more than a year, Soldiers across the Army have rotated in and out of Europe conducting interoperability training in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a multinational demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to the collective security of North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.
During the past week and a half, Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, took a new approach to interoperability training by combining elements of their own ranks to enhance and develop fire support skill sets, March 12, at Adazi Military Base, Latvia.
Soldiers in the fire support element developed a certification process allowing the scout reconnaissance platoon to call for indirect fire.
"My philosophy has always been you don't truly know something until you can teach someone," said 1st Lt. Mark Antonio, a 3-2 Cavalry fire support officer. "For my [fire support specialists], it's a huge benefit to them. Teaching other people solidifies the skills they already know."
The program combined classroom and hands-on training, building up to a live-fire certification through use of the Latvian's Joint Terminal Air Controller simulator.
The JTAC simulator allowed scouts to conduct basic fire support missions in real-time while using the same equipment they would on the battlefield.
Scouts used a lightweight longrange designator rangefinder to view a simulated battlefield on a dome screen while using headsets to communicate with fire support specialists running the scenario.
Fire support Soldiers walked the scouts through the simulation, and assisted when necessary in order to certify them to conduct the live-fire range.
"For the scouts, the battlefield is never ideal," Antonio added. "As much as we would like to have forward observers everywhere, sometimes there are going to be scenarios where the scouts are out on their own and it's just what they do, it's their job. If they ever need to call for fire and we're not around, I think everyone feels better knowing now they can if they need to."
Once on the range, teams rotated through fire missions during the live-fire certification. Each team member served a specific purpose as they shot azimuths with a compass, took notes, plotted points on a map and called for fire to the mortar platoon on the radio.
"Given the tasks that we assigned to them, they've been really coming through with pretty timely corrections and pretty timely fire missions," Antonio said. "Overall I'm really impressed with how the scouts are doing."
Sgt. Nicolas Schroeder, a 3-2 Cavalry infantryman, said he feels confident in his team's ability to call for fire after the training.
"I think they did good, especially with this not being our main job and military occupational specialty," Schroeder added.
Antonio gave positive feedback to teams during after action reviews, citing specific instances in which Soldiers demonstrated proficiency and areas in need of improvement.
"As a Soldier you need to be cross-trained because you shouldn't be good at only one thing," Schroeder concluded. "You could be put in a thousand situations and you're going to have to know how to get out of [any] situation."