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NEWS | Aug. 16, 2022

Observer, Coach/ Trainers partner with Joint Fires Observers during Northern Strike 22-2

By Staff Sgt. Amberlee Medina, Operations Group Wolf

CAMP GRAYLING, Mich. – Observer, Coach/ Trainers from the Army National Guard’s Operations Group Wolf recently partnered with joint fires observers (JFO) from the Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio Army National Guards, the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, and U.S. Army Special Forces during Northern Strike 22-2.

These exercises, and the partnerships within, give reserve component units the opportunity to develop their tactics and techniques under the observation of experienced masters of Army doctrine.

“ARNG-OGW provides experienced OC/Ts for exercises such as this to assist units in improving warfighting capabilities and enhance unit capabilities to meet deployment requirements,” said ARNG-OGW Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Victor Becerra.

During large-scale training exercises like Northern Strike, OC/Ts are assigned to coach and mentor companies or teams that match their expertise and experience to ensure training meets the demands of the unit’s deployment requirements and the nation's National Defense Strategy.

“I was tasked to primarily coach FST from [1st Battalion, 251st] Infantry Regiment, 37th IBCT,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ron Hesson, ARNG-OGW Fires Support Team (FST) senior OC/T. “However, during our coordination we identified a training opportunity to increase the certification of several other [joint fires observers] within the brigade.”

Hesson and 2nd Lt. Russell Meadows, a guest OC/T with 1st Battalion, 107th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, coordinated the joint-training in collaboration with the 37th IBCT’s 1st Battalion, 134th Field Artillery Regiment, and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 148th Air Support Operation Squadron.

The recertification training not only increased the number of certified JFOs but offered a unique opportunity to increase joint interoperability while training in a realistic multi-domain environment.

“This exercise was a great opportunity to integrate Fires elements with other units of the IBCT and joint components,” said Sgt 1st Class Jonathan Guerrero, joint fires observer, 1-134th Field Artillery Regt.

In addition to JTACs from the Air National Guard, 1-134th JFOs also trained alongside elements of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade, the 3rd Special Forces Group, and the Indiana Air National Guard’s 113th Air Support Operations Squadron.

“It is essential that the JFOs properly understand how to integrate close air support and gain a better understanding of the Theater Air Control System/Army Air Ground System,” said Meadows.

The opportunity to train alongside multi-component assets, increasing the unit’s warfighting capabilities in multi-domain operations, could not have come at a better time as several battalions across the 37th IBCT are scheduled to deploy over the next few months

“Working with the JTAC is not something we train very often on,” said Guerrero. “It’s great that we were able to train here with air assets that we will have available on our deployment. We learned a lot about our partners processes and improved upon our own tactics, techniques, and procedures.”