U.S. Army Central hosted the Regional Artillery Symposium with participation from the 65th Field Artillery Brigade and partner nations in Nashville Aug. 6-10. The symposium provided the opportunity for forward deployed U.S. contingents, like the 65th FAB, to meet their artillery counterparts from different nations and provide them the opportunity to create training programs and professional development events in their respective region.
The 65th FAB, also known as America's Thunder, is part of the Utah Army National Guard and serves as the force field artillery headquarters for Task Force Spartan, which operates in the U.S. Army Central area of responsibility. Task Force Spartan is designed to enhance partnership and cooperation with regional militaries, build partner capacity and maintain readiness for assigned units.
America's Thunder supports the Theatre Security Cooperation program, a Department of Defense initiative created to develop partner capabilities and prepare for multinational operations. The brigade works with field artillery leaders, both at the strategic and tactical levels through conducting classes and information exchanges.
"We help conduct leader engagements, plan staff exercises, live-fire exercises and subject matter expert exchanges on a variety of topics as specific nations request," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jeffrey Issa, a speaker at the symposium and targeting officer assigned to the 65th FAB.
The brigade has conducted NCO field artillery development exchanges with several partner nations. The seminars have allowed senior NCOs to show partner nations the foundation of how the U.S. Army NCO Corps operates with relation to field artillery operations.
"It shows them how we put trust in our NCO Corps. That's not necessarily how our partner nations have their militaries structured," said Maj. Jeremy Williams, a speaker at the symposium and theater security cooperation coordinator for the 65th Field Artillery Brigade.
"Our senior NCO's are competent leaders and planners. They are integral to the staff at brigade and division levels," Issa added.
The brigade has also participated in information exchanges on a more strategic level where officers can discuss targeting at senior levels. Tactically, they have successfully completed artillery exercises and training events alongside partner nations.
"Our partner nations can take away the information they learned here to improve their operations and tactics, and will be better able to defend their nation while making us more interoperable," Issa said. "It really shows their willingness to cooperate and be open to our suggestions."
In the end it allowed both groups to bring together lessons learned in order to create a more effective and lethal joint effort for future operations.
"This is going to foster friendships and those relationships that we need to have that will endure and create more participation in coalition-type operations." Issa added.