Troops get schooled in joint-fire operations
CAMP HOVEY, South Korea — On Friday morning, Staff Sgt. Matthew Veasley and a team of about 10 hovered over a map, working to create a plan that would use Air Force and Army weaponry and manpower to attack a group of hidden insurgents.
The scenario was complicated — there were three “no-fire” areas in the city, places where it was forbidden to use munitions. In theory, the group had more than two days to put the response together. In reality, the students were in a classroom in South Korea and had two hours to put a plan together and present it to their colleagues.
The joint-fire class was a six-day lesson in how to best use Air Force and Army powers on the battlefield, according to Army Lt. Col. Brent Parker and Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Toldy, instructors who came from Nellis Air Base in Las Vegas to run the course.
The goal is to help soldiers create mission plans combing fighter jets, helicopters and ground forces for command review and action, Parker said.
“We try to focus it on the soldiers,” Toldy said. “We try to make it relevant to what the soldiers see every day.”
For Veasley, the operations non-commissioned officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company for 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Camp Humphreys, the lessons were paying off.
“This class teaches you how to make the order, where the order comes from,” he said.
During last week’s class, 62 soldiers and officers from a variety of backgrounds — air traffic control, pilot, intelligence, planning, human resources, medicine — participated in the fast-paced course. Most were picked by their units to participate, although any servicemember at any level can request the class, Parker and Toldy said.
Saturday’s class time was to involve a test, which if mastered, would certify the soldier as a joint-fire planner. That certification lasts throughout the soldiers’ career, Parker and Toldy said.
Staff Sgt. Eric Colon, the battle operations non-commissioned officer for the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, said the week gave him perspective on the military’s prowess when working with other branches.
“You always think your service is the best,” he said. “But when you combine both of those (forces), it’s more effective.”