Americans, Canadians and Brits team up at Ft. Sill

Fort Sill_

A new course at the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, called the Joint Operational Fires and Effects Course or JOFEC, helps artillery soldiers coordinate with other armed services in artillery and air strikes.  What makes this course so special is the class is full of Coalition military students - Americans, Canadians and Brits - all learning to work together more effectively in times of war.

Teamwork is an important part of our military and, it's never been more important than in global warfare.  "One of the pictures I can think of is the invasion of Normandy," says Major Tim LeVatte, Canadian Forces Liaison.  "And, coming onto the beaches of Normandy, you have American troops.  Beside them you have Canadian troops; beside those you have British troops."

And, that partnership is being strengthened at Fort Sill.  It may seem like an average classroom at first glance, but what goes on there is of international importance.  The United States Army Fires Center of Excellence has opened its doors to Canada and England in allied training.

"We're working alongside American brethren here and learning how they do business.  The language differences and just generally how the American Army works," says British Army Royal Regiment Artillery Major James Cook.  This very first Coalition Partner Class teaches soldiers how to coordinate artillery, air strikes and naval fires with each other - the Army works with the Air Force and the Navy in their attacks.

Major Cook has fought alongside coalition forces for thirteen years and says this JOFEC class is vital to global military partnership.  "There's never a big difference," he says.  "We're both military forces, we both fight the same way, but it's the small differences that make the difference.  You only need 1% to be different and that could be crucial."

Canadian Army Captain Paul William has been to Fort Sill three times before.  He wanted to see some of our field artillery training.  This time, he'll take it home.  "Being actually able to come down here to attend a course is tremendous," he says.  "The experience the instructors bring to the table as well as the other candidates is really eye opening and it's something I certainly hope the Canadian Army plans to participate in."

This first class proves the Army Fires Center of Excellence is all the name implies.  "And overall the impact will be significant.  Now we've started, let's take it further and go further, so we can train and fight harder," says Williams.  This is just the first of seven two week classes planned for this fiscal year.