50TH PREPARES FOR ATStory and photos by Maj. Jason Fetterolf, 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
Soldiers from 1st Platoon, Alpha Battery, 3-112th Fires Battalion place an M119 105mm Howitzer during a platoon occupation exercise June 8, 2012 at the Morristown, N.J. armory in preparation for Annual Training.
Soldiers from the 3,500-strong 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepared for the forthcoming Annual Training (AT) scheduled for Aug. 11 – 25 at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Specific training preparation for AT varied by battalion, but preparation in common was new equipment training and fielding of the Standardized Integrated Command Post System – SICPS – at Sea Girt, N.J. and battalion armories.
The system consists of a cluster of interconnected, rapidly deployable, climatecontrolled tents; two tents for each battalion, and nine for the brigade headquarters. SICPS makes fully integrated, interoperable tactical operations possible that includes all supporting tools and equipment needed to support decision making. Supporting tools and equipment include digital voice and data communications systems, vehicles and mobile power generators.
Sgt. 1st Class Brandin Benson, 112th Fires Battalion, right, assists Sgt. 1st Class Angel Rosario, 2-113th Infantry Battalion fire support sergeant, to synchronize battalion and brigade communications using the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.
Although the system was fielded separately by the battalions for four days and brigade headquarters for 10 days during the June drill, AT will be the first time the entire tent system will be together, according to Sgt. Maj. Mark Leonard, brigade current operations sergeant major.
The new equipment training and fielding process went smoothly in June and offers immense benefits to the brigade, according to Capt. Sean Combs, brigade new equipment training officer.
"This is the one system that will link all of our Army Battle Command Systems," said Combs, in observance that previous systems were in separate locations. "Within five days, (SICPS) can be fully operational."
Beyond SICPS training, units such as the 3-112th Fires Battalion in Morristown, N.J., honed their skills during the drill weekend for field artillery fire missions at AT.
Activities included Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) new equipment training and platoon occupation exercises. Platoon occupation exercises can be summarized as artillery platoons surveying and occupying a location with their artillery, then placing and aiming the gun in synchronization with an advanced party. The new system training consisted of familiarization with specialized laptop computers that synchronized communications between the artillery battalion and brigade headquarters.
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