Fort Sill's annual Fires Seminar begins

Fort Sill_On Tuesday, men and women from around the world gathered at Fort Sill for the first day of the Fires Seminar, held by the Fires Center of Excellence.  The annual three-day long event highlights the status of training on post, the latest in military technology, and some of the nation's largest contractors.

Reimer Conference Center was filled with soldiers, retirees, contractors, and representatives from six countries, as Fort Sill Commanding General Peter Vangjel gave the annual "State of the Branch" speech.  "We feel like we've got unity of purpose, and definitely commitment to move, in terms of where we're going in the future," he said.

The Non Line of Sight (NLOS) cannon will be essential to the future of the new field artillery.  General Vangjel says the NLOS cannon, and the addition of the new air defense artillery school, will give the air and field artillery a chance to learn from each other and become a better fighting force.  "The integration of the Air Defense community with the Field Artillery community into the Fires Center is an opportunity that we don't often get," said Vangjel.

Vangjel says it took him more than four months to evaluate training on post, and he says that one problem the Army faces is manpower.  "The demand for a field artillery officer is not necessarily in line with the supply of field artillery officers," he said.  He says he is concerned with the amount of time soldiers are deployed - both away from home, and away from training.  "I need to give them a chance to come back, get some schooling, spend some time with their family," Vangjel said.  "That's my intent right now."

Vangjel says that the construction of Air Defense Artillery School for Base Realignment (BRAC) is ahead of schedule, and will be operational earlier than planned.  "We anticipate by 2011, there'll be a growth of about 10,000 folks - soldiers, families and DA civilians," he said.  He says that his field artillery soldiers are his priority.  "That's the key thing for me - that they're fulfilled, they're serving their country, and they are providing Field Artillery expertise where our Maneuver Commanders need it.  That's my job - that's what I'm going to do."

The conference runs through Thursday.