FORT SILL, Okla. (Feb. 15, 2018) — An exchange officer was one of the soldiers using Air Force Falcon Range Jan. 29, 2018, to recertify his joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) instructor/evaluator qualifications.
British Army Reserve Lt. Col. Nick Sargent, Army Targeting Center (ATC) Tactical Division here, kept his certification current, and the next day was overseeing Soldiers, who teach joint fires observer (JFO) training, as they recertified as JFOs.
At the ATC, Sargent’s duties include integrating Fort Sill missions with other services, which ranges from JFO and JTAC training here up to collaboration with the Joint Air-Ground Integration Center.
The division covers issues at the tactical level for Army divisions and below for the targeting process, he said. This includes integration of joint (U.S. forces) and combined (international forces) Fires.
The ATC is also responsible for standards in JFO training, and maintains a good network with squadrons that regularly fly at Falcon Range, said Sargent, who retired from active duty and now fills a Reserve position.
“A Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) recently had its Red Leg war (culmination training) and fighter aircraft from Dallas-Fort Worth came up and supported that,” he said. And, Air Force B-52 bombers came out a couple weeks ago. “The plan is to do more joint training regularly.”
Capt. Christian Ortiz, Field Artillery BOLC senior fires support instructor, works closely with Sargent. He was with Sargent at Falcon Range, Jan. 30.
“He’ll call me and say, ‘we’re having aircraft out here, can you come out and support?'” Ortiz said.
He added JFO training is a big portion of BOLC, covering about six weeks, toward the end of the course.
Royal Artillery officers perform both field artillery, and air defense artillery missions, Sargent explained. This also includes unmanned aerial systems capabilities. While the U.S. Air Force provides JTACs to work with the U.S. Army, in the British Army the JTACs are soldiers.
Mark Kessens, Falcon Range operations officer, said Sargent brings an allied perspective to the JFO and JTAC training.
“In combat, American fighter or bomber pilots won’t only being dealing with Americans,” said Kessens, a veteran pilot of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. “You have Australians, you have Dutch, you British, you have Canadians.”
Sargent said he enjoys working outside his branch.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working with the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, and Royal Marines, the U.S. Marine Corps, and now I have the privilege of working with the U.S. Army,” he said.
Reflecting back on his 2.5 years here, Sargent said, “The job is great, my wife is happy, and the school’s good.”
His tour here has been approved for a one-year extension.