US Army Field Artillery Training Command
The mission of the Field Artillery is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy by cannon, rocket and missile fire and to help integrate all fire support assets into combined arms operations. To accomplish the field artillery mission, Training Command must train field artillery soldiers and Marines in tactics, techniques, and procedures for the employment of fire support systems in support of the maneuver commander. Training Command further develops leaders who are tactically and technically proficient, develops and refines Warfighting doctrine, and designs units capable of winning on future battlefields.
The modern field artillery officer is trained to know all the artillery weapons, fire direction operations, and target acquisition systems and how to employ them in support of combined arms operations. This training includes the study and practices of non-nuclear ammunition. Once commissioned, the field artillery officer is trained to be a technical expert as well as troop leader, and attends Basic and Advanced courses at the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Okla., at appropriate career points. Between the Basic and Advanced Courses, assignments are varied as much as possible to allow overall development of the officer's potential.
Some of the units in the field artillery to which most officers will be assigned early in their tour of duty include the 155mm towed or self-propelled battery; 105mm towed battery; Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) battery; Pershing and Lance missile units; warhead support units, target acquisition batteries, and, of course, the applicable headquarters and service batteries of these weapons units.
Although the number and type of field artillery units and organization is one of the most extensive in the Army's force structure, the actual areas of concentration required for field artillery officers are few, which indicates the interchangeability expected of those assigned to his branch. These areas of concentration are basic to the branch: Canon Field Artillery Officer, Light Missile/Rocket Officer, Heavy Missile Officer and Target Acquisition Survey Officer.
Further evidence of the versatility of the field artillery officer is contained in the official job descriptions. The field artillery unit commander, for instance, is also qualified to server as an artillery aerial observer, forward observer, and fire support officer. As commander, the officer is trained to control and direct the tactical employment of either a cannon, rocket, or missile unit in combat. This includes related combat necessities such as intelligence evaluation, situation estimates, and battle-plan formulation. The officer is called upon to advise higher commanders, staffs, and supported units on the capabilities of artillery. In combat or otherwise, the field artillery unit commander is solely responsible for the unit's administration, training, supply, transportation, communications, organizational maintenance, and security.
In order for the field artillery officer to accomplish these duties, training at the Field Artillery School centers on developing the qualifications needed. In the Basic Course, the newly commissioned lieutenants are provided with knowledge of the field artillery systems, with skills and in-depth knowledge in the areas of observed fire, fire direction, and management of individual training that prepares them to become fire support team (FIST) chiefs, to server as cannon battery executive officers, and to manage maintenance and training at the battery level. This training qualifies the officer to be a cannon field artillery officer, Depending upon the officer's initial assignment, training may continue in either the Lance Officer Course or the Pershing Officer Course to qualify the individual as a light missile/rocker officer or heavy missile officer.
The Advanced Course develops the knowledge and skills required to perform as a battery commander, fire support officer, or battalion fire direction officer. This course includes maneuver force, target acquisition, survey, and counter-fire training. Also included are the field artillery gunnery problems, to include fire direction, observed fire, and firing battery operations. Leadership, training management, maintenance and supply procedures, and communications/electronics complete the Advanced Course. Based on future assignments, approximately 30 percent of the Advanced Course students also attend the Nuclear and Chemical Target Analysis Course.
Each field artillery officer is expected to have this basic knowledge. To qualify for some assignments, however, some special training is required. For instance, the Nuclear Weapons Officer must be able to meet stringent security tests and know all of the complicated details of storage, transportation, logistical management, staff procedures, policies, directives, and procedures for interservice cooperation, and of course, the special tactical applications.
As with each of the other combat arms, the field artillery officer is trained to be a diverse individual, capable of providing accurate, effective and responsive fire support when required. Qualified officers may also request assignment to a functional area such as Special Operations or Procurement, or perhaps to Research and Development, where the officer's interest and talents can help assure the improvement of equipment in a way that can be easily utilized for the success of combat operations.
As the field artillery officer advances in grade and experience, there is every opportunity for staff-level assignment and selection for attendance at top-level Army schools.
In 1824, the Artillery School was established at Fort Monroe, VA, beginning the comprehensive system of service schools which is important today.
Field Artillery School
A reorganization placed the Field Artillery School subordinate to the Field Artillery Training Command, headed by the Assistant Commandant, U.S. Army Field Artillery School. The FA School is comprised of two training departments, four directorates, the Marine Corps Detachment and the Air Force Joint Program Division.
The origin of the United States Army Field Artillery School (USAFAS) can be traced back to the 1907 reorganization of the Artillery Corps and to the character of Fort Sill at that time. The 1907 reorganization created two artillery branches: The Coastal and the Field. In the process of this reorganization, the Field Artillery was deprived of its former home at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Fort Sill was considered the best location for a field artillery school, since its 15,000-acre reservation allowed ample room for target practive and its great variety of terrain offered an excellent area for different types of tactical training. In addition, the Post had already assumed the character of the home of artillery with a large number of artillery units assigned.
The first artillery school, the US Army School of Fire, was organized in 1911 by Captain Dan T. Moore. With the exception of a brief period in 1916 when school troops were used as frontier security guards during the Mexican Revolution, the School has operated and expanded continuously. Literally hundreds of thousands of artillerymen have been trained at Fort Sill since the inception of the School.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD would realign Fort Bliss, TX, by relocating the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Center & School to Fort Sill, OK. This recommendation would also consolidate the Air Defense Artillery Center & School with the Field Artillery Center & School at Fort Sill to establish a Net Fires Center. This recommendation would consolidate Net Fires training and doctrine development at a single location. The moves would advance the Maneuver Support Center (MANSCEN) model, currently in place at Ft. Leonard Wood, which consolidated the Military Police, Engineer, and Chemical Centers and Schools. This recommendation would improve the MANSCEN concept by consolidating functionally related Branch Centers & Schools, which would foster consistency, standardization, and training proficiency. It would also facilitate task force stabilization, by combining operational forces with institutional training. In addition, it would consolidate both ADA and Field Artillery skill level I courses at one location, which would allow the Army to reduce the total number of Military Occupational Skills training locations (reducing the TRADOC footprint).
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