‘Dagger’ Brigade JFOs train to leverage air power
Second Lt. Ian Ramsey, company fire support officer, Co. B, 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt., left, speaks via a handheld radio to piloted A-10 Warthog aircraft, as Air Force Staff Sgt. Keith Garrie, 10th ASOS, looks on May 9. Ramsey and other “Dagger” Brigade JFOs have been training with the Air Force to enhance their ability to call on air assets to destroy targets on the ground. Photo by: Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire, 2ND ABCT.
Story by: Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire
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Ever since the development of heavier-than-air flight and the aerial battles of World War I, some might say the importance and centrality of air power has increased.
"In order to assure an adequate national defense, it is necessary and sufficient to be in a position in case of war to conquer the command of the air," said early aviation proponent Italian Gen. Giulio Douhet.
In that spirit, Soldiers with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division have been working with Airmen from Fort Riley's 10th Air Support Operations Squadron to coordinate with air assets to enhance ground forces' maneuver ability.
"Today, what we've been doing is talking on aircraft, specifically A-10 (Warthogs)," said 2nd Lt. Ian Ramsey, company fire support officer, Co. B, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd ABCT. "(We are) basically providing them with attack information, gaining clearance through the (Joint Tactical Air Controllers) that we have out here, the Air Force personnel, so that the aircraft can engage ground targets in support of maneuver operations."
Ramsey and other joint fires observers have been conducting this training in night and day environments, as well as rural and more urban environments. While on some passes, the aircraft do drop ordnance, most of the runs are "dry," meaning the destruction of targets is purely notional.
"It's been great," Ramsey said. "There's a difference between a schoolhouse environment and an actual, real-world environment. Coming out here and seeing the differences between what the book says will work and actually getting hands-on the equipment that you trained on is great."
JFOs are trained at Fort Sill, Okla., in a difficult, high-failure-rate course, taken alongside members of other military services, particularly the Air Force.
"The course integrates the indirect fire capabilities that we have internally, like artillery and mortars, with things like naval gunfire, as well as rotary-wing assets and the fixed-wing assets from the Air Force and the Navy," Ramsey said.
In order to communicate, or 'talk on' with aircraft pilots, JFOs use a wide range of equipment, including radio systems, along with more visual enablers.
"We have the (Remotely-Operated Video Enhanced Receiver), and that picks up the aircraft's feed to let us know what the pilot is seeing, so we can all be on the same page and talk him on from the screen," said Senior Airman Chase Nelson, JTAC, 10th ASOS. "There are two different versions that we have – the ROVER V, which is a handheld device, and that's more for when you're far out in the field. What we have out here today is the ROVER IV, and that is made more for a (Tactical Operations Center) setup."
The A-10s training with the "Dagger" Brigade Soldiers and 10th ASOS Airmen were with the 303rd Fighter Squadron, a National Guard unit from Missouri, Nelson said.
Both Nelson and Ramsey said they were enjoying the experience of working with another service and seeing how they operated.
"It's been really good. They're very knowledgeable, welcoming people, especially coming from limited experience such as myself, it's been very helpful to come out here and have that interaction with them," Ramsey said.