‘Dragon’ Soldiers complete FIST training
FORT RILEY, Kan.— Sgt. Micheal Blye, a forward observer of HHC, 4th IBCT looks through a lightweight laser designator rangefinder as Spc. Jeff Hofer anotates grid coordinates on a terrain schetch on Aug 5. After one month of training all the forward observer teams in the 4th IBCT have been certified, showing they are proficient in their jobs. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Scott Lamberson, 4IBCT pao)
Story by: SGT Scott C Lamberson
Forward observers with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division completed training and were certified as individuals and teams, following a monthlong certification process that concluded Aug. 16.
Some of the key areas Soldiers and teams were tested on, included radio communication, vehicle identification, vehicle preparation, mounted and dismounted land navigation, call for fire simulation, fire planning, targeting and outpost occupation.
"Fire support is a perishable skill, if you're not in the maps a lot, or if you're not doing land navigation a lot, you forget little small things – the little tips and tricks," said Sgt. Michael Blye, forward observer team leader, HHC, 4th IBCT. "The only way to stay proficient is by practicing and doing things over and over again. Certifying lets the guys know that the training is paying off and that they can actually do their job."
Throughout the training, Soldiers eagerly learned new things, as well as refreshed skills they have had their whole careers, said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Schmahl, 4th IBCT fire support noncommissioned office.
"A lot of the information and training we went over is new to many of the younger Soldiers," Schmahl said. "As our training transitions from counter insurgency to force-on-force operations, it's paramount that we incorporate things, like fire planning and targeting – things many Soldiers haven't been exposed to yet."
The training was broken down into three different phases. It began with two weeks of classroom training, called the Fire Support Academy; one week of artillery skills proficiency testing; and a final week dedicated to certifying the Soldiers and teams of the brigade.
"I'm very satisfied with this training and certification," Blye said. "It was a good opportunity for all the fire supporters to get together and transfer fire support knowledge and skills across different battalions in the brigade."