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    Ironhorse JFO and JTACs train together

    Ironhorse JFO and JTACs train together

    Photo By Sgt. Lisa Vines | U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Bertrand Fitzpatrick, left, the exercise ground commander...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Lisa Vines 

    382nd Public Affairs Detachment

    AVIANO, Italy – One of the most satisfying sounds a Soldier or Airman can hear during training or deployment is the boom of fighter aircraft and artillery destroying its target. Comprehensively trained Joint Fires Observers (JFOs) and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) are the warriors who help accomplish that.

    U.S. Army JFOs from the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (1-7 CAV, 1st ABCT, 1st CD,) and U.S. Air Force JTACs assigned to the 2nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron (EASOS), aligned with the 1st ABCT, 1st CD, conducted multiple joint training scenarios focusing on close air support, Aug. 6-10, 2018, in Aviano, Italy.

    Close air support is the direct support of ground forces by aircraft. During this notional training exercise, the ground forces are maneuver and artillery units assigned to the Ironhorse brigade. The three key close air support participants are the ground commander, who is responsible for the movement of troops and achievement of ground objectives; the controller, who is the JTAC augmented by the JFO; and the air assets.

    The training exercises involved F16 Fighting Falcon pilots assigned to the U.S. Air Force’s 555th Fighter Squadron out of Aviano Air Base, Italy, JFO and JTACs assigned to 1st ABCT, 1st CD, and a myriad of combat arms ground support.

    The JFO acts as an augmentation to the JTAC, passing targeting data onto the JTACs to they can control the close air support.

    “You can train all day in the SIM (simulator), but when you actually see how the JTACs interact with the pilots and how things work in the real world, you get a lot of good training out of that experience,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Barbera, JFO assigned to the 1-7 CAV.

    Often enhanced with a JFO, with detailed integration, the JTAC communicates with artillery assets, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, ships, pilots using jammers against enemy radios, etc.

    “Our job is to help make sure that whatever operation involves all that (detailed integration of communication) goes on smoothly,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Bertrand Fitzpatrick, a JTAC assigned to the 2 EASOS.

    Although close air support training occurs frequently, the Soldiers and Airmen don’t always have the opportunity to conduct it in partnership with NATO countries. The Soldiers and Airmen assigned to 1st ABCT, 1st CD are currently deployed across Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve, making opportunities to train alongside NATO allies a frequent reality.

    “It’s been really fantastic forging those relationships and strengthening them,” said U.S. Army Capt. Jonathan Damalouji, ground liaison officer for the 31st Fighter Wing. “We’ve had the Spanish and Canadians out here. The more we can get people down here and expose the joint tactics and joint doctrine the better we’re all going to be.”

    Damalouji is a U.S. Army officer who is attached to the U.S. Air Force’s 31st Fighter Wing. His purpose is to be the liaison between the Army and Air Force for training exercises such as this.

    The prospect of training, to improve and develop skills, is a treasured opportunity while deployed.

    “A lot of the time in my previous deployments, I did not have the luxury of training,” said Damalouji. “In order to get all these guys down here, with the Spanish and Canadians as well, it really showcases what we’re trying to accomplish on the bigger operational strategic level. We had U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and two NATO partners all training together on the same compound. We learned a lot and overall we’re going to be better because of it.”

    The change of pace and unique experiences that occur when joint training is conducted is essential to the readiness of the U.S. military.

    “It’s definitely two very different environments. The best part is a little bit of variety and getting to experience a little bit more than we usually do,” Barbera said.

    The interoperability between Army, Air Force and NATO partners, and the Soldiers and Airmen who have the opportunity to participate, is the complete package when it comes to invaluable training.

    “This is as close to a real-world experience as you can get,” Barbera said.



    Date Taken: 08.12.2018
    Date Posted: 08.12.2018 08:55
    Story ID: 288394
    Location: AVIANO, IT 

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