More than 100 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team forward and joint fires observers recertified and tested their call-for-fire skills and close-air support skills Wednesday through Friday at the Maneuver Center of Excellence Simulation Center.The brigade, which returned from its most recent deployment in October, is currently in its reset phase and was using the center to help hone their skills.
Since the start of the war in Iraq forward observers have done so many things other than their primary job when they have deployed, said Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Reedze, the fire support operations noncommissioned officer for the 3rd HBCT. He said calling for fire and the skills required to be an effective forward observer are very perishable, and added training was important in making sure they are where they need to be.
Many of the 3rd HBCT Soldiers were impressed with the facility they were training in.
“It has very high-speed equipment,” said Staff Sgt. Derek Bachman, a Soldier assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. “The facility is brand new. The training plan was very well thought out and put together. To be honest, this is the best call-for-fire trainer I’ve ever been in.”
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Bauchman said many of the scenarios he practiced in the simulators were difficult, but he appreciated the chance to test his skills.
“It is challenging going from a deployed environment setting to going back to what we are trained to do,” he said. “This is exactly what we need to be doing.”
Reedze and Bauchman said the simulators allow Soldiers to see realistic targets on a full-size screen and make real-world calculations, like they would in an actual call-for-fire situation.
While the current combat environment hasn’t allowed the 3rd HBCT’s forward observers to do their traditional job, Reedze stressed the Army will continue to train forward observers for any scenario.
“We are not an Army that fights only one kind of battle,” he said. “We always need to be ready to fight high-intensity linear battles as well as urban combat. If we lose those skills focusing on one type of fight, we will not be effective when the time comes.”