Hello I just joined the army!!! im excited and apprehensive! - Page 2

September 25th, 2004  
Duty Honor Country
Before I go on, I must let you know all of my FO experience comes from being with the light infantry. I have no idea how things are with Tank units.

1) Radios and communication equipment. An FO cannot call for fire if he cannot talk to the FDC (fire and direction center) The FDC processes the call for fire into data for the big guns. Also, a GPS will be your best friend.

Remember this!!! A GPS is a great tool but you must know how to navigate with only a map and compass. BAtteries can dies and your GPS can stop tracking satellites. What I try to do is use a map and compass during the day and GPS by night. It saves on batteries. Although, the LT's in the infantry do not always trust a 6 digit grid if it doesn't come from a GPS. My LT had the platoon stop while I turned on my GPS. My grid was the same as what the GPS Said.

2) My instructors in AIT did not stress knowing FM 6-30 TACTICS, TECHNIQUES, AND PROCEDURES FOR OBSERVED FIRE. When I got to my first unit, I got hell for not knowing my job. During AIT, learn Chapters 3-5 inside and out. Use note cards to test your knowledge. Right now, I have a stack of about 200 note cards. If you go to your first unit knowing those chapters, you'll be ahead of the game. The other stuff is more advanced and you'll learn them in good time.

3) It has been a while, but it goes something like this

2 weeks commo (radios)
2 weeks land navigation
Land Nav course
Class Room training
GUARD FIST (simulated ARTY on a projection screen)
Live fire with Artillery
Live fire test

It's been too long for me to go into any specifics

4) Well this may sound weird, but I think the hardest part about being an FO is being in the rear (not in the field). We are the Kings of Battle, but we are also the Dogs of Garrison. Once our equipment is clean and everything that is broken is turned in, a FO doesn't have a lot to do. Well, the command knows this and will find details for you to do. Trust me, the Army has details up the wazoo. You'll see what I am talking about soon enough. Oh yeah, if you are a good soldier, you can get out of some of the more crappy details.

5) The infantry do not hate FO's. About the truck thing. When you get off a truck with 30+ ruck sacks on it, a detail of 3 guys will take all of them off. Most rucks are light, ours are not. They cuss because they're expecting the ruck to be fairly light. The infantry can get annoyed with FO's from time to time. When a platoon comes under fire, the grunts will drop their rucks and chase after the enemy. As an FO, your radio will be in your ruck and you will have to hump it along. 70+ lbs can slow you down a bit when everyone else has nothing on their backs. Some squad leader was pissed I did not climb a hill fast enough to call in ARTY on the enemy as they ran. He said "if you hadn't taken your time getting here, I could have used you." In a situation like that, just shut your mouth (remember the whole learning how to shut your mouth).

6) I will post more info later. I have a wealth of tips on being in the field. Remember, the FTX in basic and AIT is nothing like what you will experience on active duty.

I hope this is helping you a bit

SSG Doody
September 25th, 2004  
I can't comment directly on being an FO since I worked in the FDC. The FO has, probably, the hardest job in artillery. He has to be the eyes of the battery. Nothing happens until that call for fire. Once the rounds go down range, it is the FO who sends the FDC corrects to take the rounds right to the enemy. Much easier to do now with lazer range finders and GPS, but still corrections are needed, and for the guns to be effective, the FO has to on his game and know what he is about. The FO is the first link in getting fire support to the troops who need it. It is a job of great responsibility.
September 25th, 2004  
Duty Honor Country
I got along great with the FDC, the "brains" of the artillery. Sometimes when we were shooting coordinated illum missions late at night, I would use "Chinese Bicycle Brigade dismounting in the open" at a target. I could hear the guys at the FDC laughing as they read back what I said. I am sure glad the Battalion commander did not hear that. At 0200, he's asleep. 8)

Plus I used you guys in running cadences
September 25th, 2004  
Asme Info But I plan on being so good at my job that I can hit them if I can see them lol so there like 1700 meters away lol just make the boys at base move the guns !!!!! lol