|By 1st Lt. Jeffrey Gruidl, 181st infantry Brigade,
Division West Public Affairs Office
FORT McCOY, Wis. — The 1st
Battalion, 338th Regiment, 181st Infantry Brigade, Blue Force Tracker (BFT)
team provides unit commanders with trained BFT operators to assist with
their unit’s wartime mission. They also provide commanders with trained
BFT operators during the unit’s situational-training exercise (STE).
Sgt. 1st Class Rudy Rana from 1st
Battalion, 338th Regiment, 181st Infantry Brigade conducts a
Blue Force Tracker training class for mobilizing Soldiers at
Fort McCoy. Soldiers receive BFT training to send and receive
messages containing text and imagery about battlefield
conditions. (Photo by Master
Sgt. Daniel Biesen)
Noncommissioned officers from the BFT training team were extremely
busy training mobilizing units at Fort McCoy in 2010. For the year, the
BFT team conducted approximately 100 classes, providing nearly 3,000
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, with training tailored to their respective
missions. The training comes in the form of a 40-hour “certification”
course, a two-day familiarization or a one-day class conducted in
support of the STE.
To keep up with the satellite-based systems’ technology advances, Master
Sgt. Daniel Biesen and Staff Sgt. Scott Else of the 1st, 338th had the
opportunity to attend the program of instruction validation and
verification for the joint capabilities release (JCR) BFT software
upgrade at Fort Hood, Texas. The JCR upgrade will provide a common BFT
platform for the Army and Marines to operate on and will bring a
singular command-and-control information solution to Soldiers at the
brigade level and below.
These improvements will feature modified software, a simplified database
and the capability to deliver information over the air. Biesen and Else
were the only two military members attending the conference.
Other attendees included civilian training managers, Training and
Doctrine Command representatives, and Northrop Grumman representatives.
According to Biesen, “This was a great opportunity for the BFT team to
get some firsthand exposure to new software the 181st Infantry Brigade
will be training mobilizing units on.”