By Spc. Beth Lake, 2ID Public Affairs OfficeJanuary 1, 2008
Sixty-two Soldiers and Airmen learned the meaning of a synergistic fight during the Joint Firepower Course taught at Camp Hovey Dec. 3-8.
Six instructors from the 57th Fighter Wing's Air Ground Operations School taught an intensive six-day version of the course, which is normally filled with students from the Marines, Air Force, Navy, and Coalition forces and taught at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
Students in the course ranged in career fields at the enlisted and officer level from air traffic controllers, fires and effects cells, pilots, medical personnel and administration.
This course gives students a tool kit to make it a synergistic fight, said Lt. Col. Brent Parker, Joint Fires Instructor, Army Joint Support Team, Nellis Air Force Base.
"We teach students the capabilities of all the systems and the planning factors so they learn how to address any issues" that arise and make it one fight for the commander, said Parker.
The course was taught in two parts, and was focused on the students. This class was tailored for scenarios specific to 2ID and Korea.
"We give a lot of background information," said Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Toldy, Joint Fires Instructor, 6th Combat Training Squadron, Nellis, AFB.
"In this case, while there is Army doctrine, we also give information on the Air Force, such as weapons and their capabilities and how the joint terminal attack controllers work."
To help students understand what they were learning, the Tactical Air Control Party from Camp Casey came out and did a demonstration for the class.
The TAC-P are special operations airmen who work side by side with the Army to coordinate fire support.
The second part of the course was a hands-on exercise where students were given a tactical problem in which to make a plan on how they would integrate all of their assets.
"We planned an attack on insurgents," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Veasley, S-3 NCOIC, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade. "We had three no-fire areas, and we had to coordinate around those."
For Staff Sgt. Eric Colon, Headquarters, Headquarters Support Company, Division Special Troops Battalion operations NCO, the tactical exercise helped him see the bigger picture. His group had to defend their position from enemy armor who attacked their perimeter.
"When they mix surface fires and air support together it creates a more cumulative effect on a possible enemy," Colon said. "It is good to have one or the other, but when you combine those it is more effective."
Working in a joint environment has been challenging for him because students are expected to learn the other service's lingo.
"Air Force acronyms are worse than ours," Colon said with a smile. "But working jointly is more beneficial because it makes you think outside the box."
The final portion of the course was a written exam. Those who passed the course will have an additional skill identifier.
For many, the learning goes far beyond the actual classroom environment.
"Regardless of pass or fail, you get the knowledge of how the wheels turn," said Veasley. "Everybody is used to taking orders, but this class teaches you how to build the orders and where they derive from."