News: Patriot Battalion hosts Vanguard fires forum
Story by Sgt. Bob Yarbrough
FORT STEWART, Ga. – Field artillery officers with 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, met for a fires forum, Jan. 15, on Fort Stewart, Ga.
The fires forum, hosted by 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th IBCT, known as the Patriot Battalion, provided field artillery officers the opportunity to interact, discuss and develop an understanding for the future of field artillerymen in the Vanguard Brigade, coordinate with the 3rd ID’s fires section and the 42nd Fires Brigade.
“We have a unique profession” said Lt. Col. Lee Overby, the 1-76 FA commander, as he initiated the forum. He emphasized that as a branch, field artillerymen have to rediscover themselves and get back to the basics in order to master our craft.
The forum covered topics in four sessions which included the roles of 42nd Fires Brigade, Division Fires and 1-76 FA; fire support certification; gunnery certification and the proposed training plan for each.
Maj. James Hock, from the 3rd ID fires section, led the first session by stressing the importance of the Joint Fires Observer Course and how it relates to interacting with their maneuver brethren.
The second session, led by Maj. Jayson Morgan, the Vanguard Brigade fire support officer, discussed changes in the fire support community and the certification process. He led the group through a discussion on the consolidation of the fire supporters from the maneuver battalions back to the artillery battalion and how to deconflict issues relating to that process. In relation to the importance of training events, Morgan said, “providing fires to maneuver is our number one priority and maintaining relationships with maneuver is essential.”
Maj. Anthony Bianchi, the operations officer for 1-76 FA, discussed the battalion’s gunnery certification and qualification program. The program consists of the Artillery Skills Proficiency Test, leader certification on safety, positioning and orientation, gunner’s testing and fire direction center certification, all culminating in a live-fire qualification.
Bianchi wrapped up the forum by illustrating the consolidated training plan for forward observers and the firing sections prior to a culminating exercise to test the battalion’s skills.
Col. John O’Grady, the 42nd Fires Brigade commander, also facilitated an open forum of the field artillery profession and an outlook for training.
The fires forum allowed the Vanguard artillerymen to understand the 2014 training plan, associated critical events and the roles the 42nd Fires Brigade and 3rd ID fires will play in regard to resourcing, guidance and training oversight. The forum also promoted esprit de corps and kept everyone updated on both the relevance of field artillery and the future training to increase fires proficiency.