Elements of 1-3 Attack Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade trained with German Bundeswehr Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the artillery school in Baumholder, Germany on September 8th and 9th, 2020. The German JTACs at this event are actually instructors at the artillery school working on their own periodic recertification by controlling the drop of live ordinance from aircraft.This exercise puts NATO interoperability into practical application with American pilots coordinating live fire with German, French, and Dutch soldiers and aviators, demonstrating these units’ ability to work together effectively in a real-world scenario should the need arise.
“This exercise is of mutual benefit for all of us; for the U.S. as well as the Germans” said Bundeswehr Lt. Col. Joachim Schwarz. “The main effort for this training is the cooperation between the aviation and the ground forces; fire support controlled by a JTAC, and giving them the opportunity to fire live here on a different training area,” said Schwarz.
“We were invited by the German artillery school to participate in this training event which gives us the opportunity to practice type I, II, and III JTAC controls,” said U.S. Army Capt. Sean McManus, Commander of A Co, 1-3 Attack Battalion.
A Co, 1-3 is being supported by D and E Companies as well as Air Force staff weather officers. The training event is also supported by 155mm howitzers and 120mm mortars from the Franco-German Brigade, and a Dutch Air Force A4 Skyhawk. The terrain at Baumholder is very different from Grafenwöhr where the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade usually conducts its live fire training. The undulating hills and higher elevation provide U.S. Army aviators with varied flight paths which, combined with the challenge of working with soldiers of multiple allied nations, helps to keep them adaptable.