News: 1-38 CAV soldiers conduct Fires University
Story by Sgt. Samantha Parks
CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Fifteen soldiers with 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, completed Fires University training at Camp Bondsteel Dec. 16- 20.
The course was used both as refresher training and an opportunity to cross-train.
“The intent for the past week of training was to provide sustainment training for my forward observers and fire support sergeants in conjunction with training the 19D, cavalry scouts, to be proficient in fire support tasks and joint fire observer tasks,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class William Harvey, the fire support noncommissioned officer for 1 Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment and a native of Groton, Conn.
The forward observers conduct regular training, but Harvey said this month he wanted to include six cavalry scouts for cross-training and give his noncommissioned officers an opportunity to grow as leaders.
“This idea came from our sustainment training we do monthly,” Harvey said. “We wanted to branch off on that and do a whole week to keep everybody proficient in their tasks. [The NCOs] are teaching people that don’t normally do these jobs, so it definitely developed them professionally.”
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. George Kerr, a forward observer with 1 Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, and a Nashville, Ohio, native, attended the training to refresh his skills, as well as teach several of the classes.
“In the Fires University [training] I was mainly teaching the joint fires observer and close air support portion,” Kerr said. “We did ten-level [training], which is the regular artillery and mortar call for fire that we learn in the school house. Then going into the joint fires portion, we stepped it up a level and learned how to control close air support from helicopters.”
U.S. Army Spc. Sterling Cotton, a cavalry scout with 1 Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment and a Dallas native, said cross-training provides cavalry scouts the opportunity to better understand the observer’s job and take back what they learned to teach other cavalry scouts.
“You should always want to know how to employ your assets, just in case the forward observer that is attached to your unit goes down, you’ll know how to continue on with the mission,” said Cotton. “Before I came here, I really didn’t know too much about the 13F [fire support specialist job]. I feel like I’m pretty competent and proficient [now].”
For Cotton the best part of the training was getting in to use the call-for-fire simulators.
“Actually getting in here [with the simulators] and getting to see where the rounds that you’re calling in [are] hitting is great,” Cotton said. “I’ve done fairly well. So far this is the best training I’ve had since I’ve been here [Kosovo].”