KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Navy Lt. Mark Fetterman, Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team engineer from Plymouth, Mass., stands on a hilly outcropping in Bak district during a foot (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers from 1st Coy, 3rd Kandak play with village children during a patrol through Sar Mast Kheyl, Zormat District Jan. 16. (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An MRAP remains idle as construction efforts surround Combat Outpost Bak and the nearby district center. ISAF, ANP and ANA members work together daily (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE – U.S. Army Spc. Kyle Oszczakiewicz, an infantryman with 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, from Trenton, N.J., scans for insurgents as 2nd Plt. receives (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Polish Battle Group A and Texas Army National Guard Ghazni ADT-IV conduct a village assessment of Pir Shabaz, a small village near Ghazni City, (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad takes questions from new recruits during Basic Warrior Training at Forward Operating Base Thunder Jan. 22. (click for more)
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Michael Scarsbrook, an infantryman with Task Force Ironman, from Iowa Falls, Iowa, looks down on a spot in Tupac Jan. 21, (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Tyrik L. Holmes, assigned to 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Thunder, (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Davis, from Moore, Okla., the platoon sergeant of the 2-45th ADT’s security force, leads the rear security element (click for more)
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Pfc. Corey Vanotegham, an infantry radio telephone operator from Victor, Iowa, with TF Ironman, smiles as he stands beside a Holstein cow (click for more)
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — U.S. Army Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conducted a live fire with forward observers from 2nd Kandak, 2nd Infantry Brigade, 203rd Corps, Afghan National Army, at Forward Operating Base Sharana Jan. 31.
The 4th Bn., 320th FAR has been training the ANA forward observers for nearly two months on the basics and this live fire was a good way to gauge their progress.
“The class started on Dec. 1 and we plan on continuing the training throughout the deployment,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Chad Copsick, the FO instructor/trainer with 4th Bn., 320th FAR, and native of Binghamton, N.Y. “What we have been doing the past two months is teaching them map reading, land navigation, call for fire and the adjustments for indirect fire and this gives them the opportunity to practice.”
Forward observers provide an invaluable asset to military fires cells by increasing their capabilities.
“(They) help with the long-range fight,” said Copsick. “If you don’t have FOs you are only going to shoot what you can see. FOs go further out and use the full capabilities of the guns to shoot 14 or 15 (thousand meters) out there instead of two (thousand meters).”
The trainers have developed a program that aims at longevity and continuity.
Copsick said the course will end in early April and another class is planned to begin immediately.
“The second class will be the exact same course, but we are going to take one (ANA) soldier from the first class and he is going to conduct the second class,” said Copsick. “We will be standing by in case he needs assistance, but they will teach it for the most part. Once they learn that, they will be able to teach it well after we (have redeployed).”
So far, the ANA FOs seem eager to learn more and ready to contribute to the security of their country.
“The training is really good and we hope to continue it for a long time,” said ANA 2nd Lt. Shamsu Rahman, a forward observer with 2nd Kandak, 2nd Inf. Bde., 203rd Corps. “This is our duty and we will try to get going as soon as we can and I will do my best.”
“The more training and the more classes the better,” said ANA 1st Lt. Mohamad Raza, another 2nd Kandak forward observer. “We want to do all we can to help (Afghanistan) and I am looking forward to making a difference.”
Now that the ANA FOs have completed the basics and shown competency in the practical setting they will begin the advanced portion of the course.
“After these shoots, we will get into crater analysis, how to determine a crater on the ground and find out where the round actually came from so they can locate the enemy by where they shot,” said Copsick.
Overall, the training went well and the FOs demonstrated their ability to learn and successfully put into practice what they learned.
“I shot the registration round and after that they shot the rest,” said Copsick. “I am supervising and double checking, but so far so good—no mistakes so far and they are even calling it up themselves and saying it in English.”
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