[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     January 14, 2011
Mobilization

181st Infantry Brigade provides Blue Force Tracker training

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).

PHOTO: 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. Photo by Master Sgt. Daniel Biesen
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.”

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