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Certifying the FiST

 

Written by Sgt. Jon Heinrich
1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

BastogneFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell, KY – The Fire Support Team soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, completed their certification on October 21st after finishing a series of events within the past couple weeks.

FiSTers are forward observers who observe artillery impacts, control close combat attacks and combat air support, said Staff Sgt. Robert L. Horner, a fire support sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st BCT.

Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, mark points on the maps during their Fire Support Team Certification Oct. 13th at the land navigation course. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, mark points on the maps during their Fire Support Team Certification Oct. 13th at the land navigation course. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

“The FiST Cert. is to certify the forward observers in the brigade and make sure they are up-to-date on skill levels for their rank and make sure they know their job,” said Horner.

The FiST Cert. began October 10th with observers from every battalion within the brigade participating and is held every 6 months.

According to Horner, some of the various testing areas included skill level written exam, land navigation, radio management, crater analysis, mission simulation and a 20 km ruck march followed by the M4 carbine qualification.

Spc. David B. Smith, a fire support specialist with HHC, 1st BCT, said that since he’s only been a FiSTer for 9 months, the hardest event for him was the ruck march as it was his first 20 km, while he prepared himself for every other task.

Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, set off on their 20 km ruck march as one of the final events for the Fire Support Team Certification Oct. 21st outside the brigade headquarters. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, set off on their 20 km ruck march as one of the final events for the Fire Support Team Certification Oct. 21st outside the brigade headquarters. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

“I knew what we were going to be certifying on, so I asked for some hands-on training on the equipment before I was actually tested on it,” said Smith. “So I consider myself to have been fairly well prepared.”

Smith described the Call for Fire trainer as being one of the easiest tasks to certify on.

“The whole purpose of it was to demonstrate that we could effectively locate targets using a map and binoculars and adjust rounds onto the target using proper radio procedure,” said Smith.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team fire support team soldiers qualify on their M4 carbine after having completed a 20 km ruck march Oct. 21st at Range 26. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

The 1st Brigade Combat Team fire support team soldiers qualify on their M4 carbine after having completed a 20 km ruck march Oct. 21st at Range 26. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

To Smith, completing the FiST Certification means being qualified to do his job and proving to himself that he is capable in his skill level.

“Study the [Field Manuel].30. It’s all in there. It’s pretty much our whole job is the .30. It’s the manual we go by.”


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