Brigade conducts live fire exercise for realistic mission training

Spc. Brown Perez, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, loads a mortar round during a live fire training exercise Sept. 28 at the Malone Range Complex on Fort Benning. (Photo Credit: Gerald Williams)

Spc. Brown Perez, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, loads a mortar round during a live fire training exercise Sept. 28 at the Malone Range Complex on Fort Benning. (Photo Credit: Gerald Williams)

By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /

FORT BENNING, Ga., (Oct. 5, 2016) — Units from the 199th Infantry Brigade conducted mortar live fire training Sept. 28 at the Malone Complex on Fort Benning.

Sgt. 1st Class Paul Dorris, an instructor with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, stated that the purpose of the exercise was to give a realistic expectation on how to integrate fire into a Soldier’s mission plan.

“The Infantry Basic Officers Leaders Course live mortar exercise is a culminating part of enablers week that supports developing leaders by giving them the opportunity to develop strategies under pressure in a realistic situation,” said Capt. Jeff Wismann, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment.

“When Soldiers train in the simulation center, everything is instantaneous,” said Dorris. “They call out a fire mission and immediately see the effects they are looking for. In real life, there is a delay between the time it takes to call a fire mission and when the rounds actually come out.”

“You’re not just dealing with yourself and an instructor in a simulation anymore. You have to go through a forward observer. You have a Fire Direction Control who has to input the data, check it and send it out to Soldiers on the gunline responsible for executing the mission. They get to see how long that process takes.”

According to Dorris, Soldiers also have to take into consideration priority fire.

“If a platoon’s responsibility is to execute a mission in a way that uses mortar fire then they have priority fire,” said Dorris. “Other platoons may have to wait for access to mortar fire because of this. They don’t have to deal with that during simulation.

“Mortars are an asset used, depending on your setup, that is used for suppressing an area across from a large distance. Anytime you don’t have direct line of sight of your enemy, you may use mortars. It’s a support asset that we have. You can also use smoke rounds or flare rounds over an area depending on the situation that you are in.”

Dorris also stated that training has changed to help improve Soldier performance.

“We just switched to a committee-based system. Before, each company ran the entire 17-week course within that company. Now, each company sponsors a class and is responsible for a portion of training during that 17-week period in IBOLC.”

“For instance, my company is responsible for troop leader procedure weeks when they learn how to create, develop and issue operation orders,” said Dorris. “Alpha company does two weeks of rifle training. Before, the subjects being taught were all being taught different ways. Now, we have four platoon training teams that teach things in a more consistent manner.”

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