NCO and BOLC train together to conserve resources

Fort Sill_Military training is not new for Fort sill, but Wednesday may mark the beginning of a major change in how it trains.  The post's Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course (NCO) teamed up with the Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) to conduct their live fire training exercise where soldiers target, load, and safely fire howitzers.  Usually the training for the two groups is done at separate times and locations, but this week, they're working together.  Officials say it could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.

The officers and the NCOs are training at the same exercise to conserve resources.  Officials say that there simply isn't enough land or equipment on post to fill all of their needs, and they say the joint effort could be a win-win for everyone.

For Second Lieutenant Timothy Hayes the live fire "Redleg War" is the culmination of all of the officer leadership training he has received at Fort Sill.  "This is our last chance to make sure we get it all right before we get out into the force and lead soldiers," he said.

Future platoon leaders and battery commanders on the gun line put rounds in tubes and sent them down range - each lieutenant got an opportunity to train on every part of the gun squad.  "It's important to rotate positions so you understand all the roles culminate and how they all relate to each other," said Hayes.

Position rotation isn't new, but having the Basic Non-Comissioned Officers training at the same time is very new.  Officer's Senior Instructor Sergeant First Class Rob Bridgford says the Army made the compromise and combined the two to help with resources and to bridge the gap between officers and NCOs.  "You got a lot of training going on, and not a lot of land resources and equipment resources," he says.  "For NCOs to see Junior Officers out here training, getting some good training out, it's probably good for both.  We assume these guys came straight out of college and they might not know too much, but now we actually know that they are training just like we do," said NCO Senior Instructor Sergeant First Class Edwin Humerez.  "Now they actually see what we're made of, and hopefully they'll want to be more confident in what we do, and we feel more confident in what they do."

The joint training effort isn't necessarily expected to become the norm, but all of the officers and NCOs say they think it should be.