FORT SILL, Okla., March 12, 2020 -- Through a corps of professional instructors and modernized training platforms, the 428th Field Artillery Brigade prepares field artillery Soldiers up through the rank of captain to support combat commanders.Col. Jeff Buck, brigade commander, said as the Army moves away from counter-insurgency operations to large-scale combat operations, field artillery instruction is consolidating to reflect this change."For field artillery Soldiers, everything we do is back to that core mission to be a field artillery expert in all MOSs and for all ranks to go out and do their job of fire support," he said.With the changing mission, modernization efforts are calling for developing an extended range cannon and missiles to provide long-range precision fires. Also, Buck noted the Army is adding to Multiple Launch Rocket System battalions increasing from two to three batteries. These changes will have an effect on the lessons field artillery instructors teach here.Collectively, the brigade and Field Artillery Schoolhouse train about 10,000 Soldiers a year. Of that number, about 8,300 are junior enlisted Soldiers in advanced individual training in the five 13-series Military Occupational specialties. The brigade also teaches about 1,100 second lieutenants in the FA Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC), 400-450 captains in the FA Captains Career Course (CCC), and roughly 100 warrant officers in the Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced courses."We've got a bright future in field artillery, and our mission in the field artillery schoolhouse --- we don't see it decreasing anytime soon," he said.Regardless of the branch second lieutenants enter, all must complete common core tasks, such as rifle marksmanship. Buck said because of this requirement, instructors lose training time for FA tasks in the BOLC. So, every effort is taken to seek efficiencies to complete these tasks swiftly. Then, any saved time is rechanneled back to field artillery instruction.The colonel added he reminds students to be ready to learn."One of my briefing points to incoming BOLC students is this isn't your senior year in college; this is the time to start showing you're a professional," he said. "Even if we're not testing tomorrow but only discussing something, a professional has done the reading and is ready to participate and to learn from peers."Though lieutenants arrive with a lot of schooling, BOLC's lessons present a new academic environment with many concepts they haven't seen before."To manually shoot FA gunnery there's really no skills they've learned thus far in their lives that they can fall back on and build from," he said. "The processes are completely different and it can be a shock to some of the amount of academic rigor required to pass the class."Buck said graduating lieutenants must maintain at least an 80 percent score throughout all coursework. This is done to ensure students have a good understanding of their jobs when they get to their first operational unit.Although the bar has been raised, Buck said classes have stabilized with about the same percentage of students who successfully meet the standards.For those who don't, Buck said, "They just need a few more repetitions then they get it locked in and go on to graduate."The colonel spoke of the joy it gives him to see the growth in new officers learning their role as lieutenants in field artillery and the increased confidence they show during their final field training exercise. But, it comes with the awareness these young officers are just starting the academic rigor that will follow them from one promotion to the next."It's not an end state, we've built your foundation as a field artillery officer and you'll continue to learn and grow in your operational unit," he said.The next step in officer education comes in the Captains Career Course. Buck said captains who come here for this training arrive with varying levels of experience, some having served six to eight months on a battalion staff.Buck said the CCC training prepares captains for career progression."Particularly from an FA perspective, the updated program of instruction in the Captains Career Course gives captains a lot more instruction on how to manage an FA battalion supporting a brigade combat team in large scale combat operations," said Buck.One key area -- logistics -- readies captains for the expectations they will encounter as a logistics staff officer who is charged with determining fuel and ammunition stocks and resupply requirements.Buck admitted logistics is "a challenge and one of the hardest jobs we have in field artillery." As he discussed logistics duties with students in class, he said some worried about getting stuck in that type of job. But later in the course having learned and grown, they are ready to take on whatever duty is required of them at the battalion or brigade level."We're getting some really positive comments from the operational force that the captains we are sending out of here are doing very well and are prepared for the staff officer jobs they're being assigned to do."