From April 4-7, U.S. Army Central's 4th Battlefield Coordination Detachment hosted ground liaison officers from around the country at Shaw Air Force Base. A GLOs mission is to bridge that operational gap, in this case between the Army and the Air Force. GLOs are Army officers and senior noncommissioned officers embedded with Air Force units to help ensure their respective units can understand how the Army operates.
Despite being surrounded by airmen, the GLOs know that their role is to ensure the Army is represented at their units.
"I don't ever stop thinking about the Army's mission," said Master Sgt. Michael Hughson, who is assigned to the 5th Bomber Wing in Minot, North Dakota, " My job is to best help the Air Force understand what's happening on the ground."
Because of the GLOs, their Air Force units are better able to adapt missions to best serve the Soldier on the ground and on the front lines. This ranges from logistical assets with Air Mobility Wings to tactical missions with close air-support.
Ensuring that the Army's mission is represented, but more importantly understood by the Air Force can be a challenge. New ideas, new doctrine, and even new phrasing can make the job of a GLO difficult.
"We all had to come into this and understand how a completely different branch of the military operates," said Capt. Scott Ferguson, a GLO assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing , here on Shaw AFB. "For us, I think one of the challenges is having to learn terminology and structures that are different. It feels like my first days in the Army all over again."
With the importance of their mission, the qualification course provided an opportunity for the GLOs to reinforce their skill sets on issues ranging from administrative to tactical. Some of the lessons included were on expectations of air crews, safety training, and the capabilities and systems of joint terminal attack controllers, more commonly known as JTACs.
The importance of the work the GLOs accomplish is recognized to be a great tool in molding joint operations. Even USARCENT's Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett spoke to the GLOs about their impact and importance to USARCENT and the Army. With their new training, the GLOs can continue to provide the insight to bridge the gap between the Army and Air Force, ensuring the the next battlefield is dominated by the United States.