Artillery Officer Merged Thread

Ralph

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Possible roles for a new artillery officer are split up into three - I know the difference between field and air defence, but what’s target acquisition – is that like a FOO, and only for field artillery, or something different? Also, does anyone have any idea how one ends up in the three? Do you have a choice, or is it luck of the draw – and can you ever move between them? I would hate to spend the rest of my career twiddling my thumbs, waiting to shoot down a plane from the Al-Qaeda Air Force… ;)
Cheers,
Ralph.
 

Michael Dorosh

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A thorough read of George Blackburns‘ trilogy GUNS OF NORMANDY, GUNS OF VICTORY and WHERE THE **** ARE THE GUNS may prove useful. They are WW II memoirs, but may hint at some of the roles officers in artillery regiments still play - ie Gun Position Officer (GPO), FOO, etc. Administrative roles outside the purely gun-related stuff also need to be filled ie Adjutant, Quartermaster, etc. in addition to battery commanders and other leadership positions.
 

RCA

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Target Acquisition is exactly that. The acquiring of targets through OPs, Drones etc. I think it also involves target analysis, such as for counter battery work. I admit, I am not the familiar with it, but I think it is a branch of field artillery.

As far as I know, when joining the artillery you can decide wither to be a bird or mud gunner. Their streams are different right up to Battery Commander. However, I have seen bird gunners being course officers on the FOO Tech crses, so there is some crossover.

Being an officer within the field artillery, your first jobs will be CPO, junior command post officer and recce officer. You work under the direction of the GPO. Once you become proficient, your next position will be GPO, where you command the gun position under the BK. By this time you should be a senior Lt in the Bty. From there you go on your FOO course and become a Troop Commander and FOO. Next is being the BK, and then BCs crse. In between you can take many other crses including staff crse, and potentially hold other positions within the Regt (such as Adjt or Ops O; both as a Capt). This is just a very brief synopsis of a Field Artillery Officer’s career progression.

CPO = Command Post Officer
GPO = Gun Position Officer
BK = Battery Captain, 2ic of the Battery
BC = Battery Commander
 

Dan Bobbitt

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I‘m the OpsO at the Arty School in Gagetown. To answer your question, with the introduction of new Locating eqpt (finally - UAVs and CB Rdrs) the Arty is developing a new Career Stream for Taget Acquisition - for NCOs, they‘ll join the Field Artillery, take the basic gunner Crse, spend some time on the guns and then if they want/have the aptitude they can go locating, and take a UAV and/or CB Rdr Det member Crse. There will be a whole career stream for NCO Locators. For Officers, all Arty Officers (AD, Field, Loc) are and will be the same MOC - they will all take a common Basic Arty Offr Crse and then split to take trg in their specifc discipline, taking a Fd Arty Tp Commander/GPO Crse, an AD Tp Commander or a Locating Tp Comamnder. Once you‘ve started a stream you can switch back and forth, however there‘s a training bill that goes along with the switch, as you would have to go back and take the crses in the other discipline. There‘s also a credibility issue, and I‘ve seen a number of Offrs who came up the Fd or AD side switch to take command of a Bty after taking the BC‘s Crse - it‘s often not too pretty as they lack the experience.
 

Ralph

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Gotcha.
One question: at the point at which an officer goes into Field, AD or Locating, whose choice is it between the three streams? Is it completely his, completely the unit‘s, or a combination based on his aptitude/spaces that need to be filled? (And if so, what separates a good Field officer from a good AD from a good Locating officer?)
Thanks,
Ralph.
 

Mike Bobbitt

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Ralph,

As I understand it, the decision is made by the unit (generally considering the candidate‘s perference) and the Artillery School. The school holds a board with each candidate to help with the process.

Cheers
 
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Yes Man

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I am going on Monday to attempt to enlist in the reserves and I am having second thoughts about what I would like to be in the army. For starters I have talked to a few of my army friends and many of them have brought up the issue that it might be good to start out as a private and the apply to be an officer after a few years. Is this a good idea?
Second I am not 100% sure that I want to be in the artillery, some of the other options, (engineers and armored) also interest me. If I find I do not like the artillery would there be a way to change?
Finally I have not talked to another artillery officer and do not know what it is that they really do, all I know about this is the little bit of info they gave me at the recruiting office and on the web site. Can anyone give me a better description of the day to day activities I would be undergoing?

Thanks
 

Michael OLeary

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There‘s no guarantee that being an NCM first produces a better officer. If you have the character and skills appropriate to leading as an officer, you will do well whether or not you have served as an NCM. The opposite case also exists, some soldiers who perform well as NCOs may have trouble adjusting their leadership style to an officer‘s role and responsibilities.

For an outline of what artillery officers do, try the related link from this page:

http://www.recruiting.forces.ca/html/army/careers/career_profiles/index.html

Mike
 

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Yes Man,

The links provided by Mike provide a good general overview of the jobs. I also echo his comments about going in as an NCM first. I have seen good and bad officers who were once NCMs.

Take a look at the sight and let me know what your are looking for specifically and I would be very glad to help you. Are you applying for Regular or Reserve?
 
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Yes Man

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I have read the bit of info given on recruiting site, and I find it talks more about what it takes to qualify then what you will be doing once you qualify. I’m trying to find out what the function is of an artillery officer in the reserve, on a day to day level.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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What does an Artillery Officer do? O come on, stop baiting us working types like that. :p
 

Gunner

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Yes Man, since you are interested in the Reserves it makes it easier. You don‘t mention where you are located in your profile so I don‘t know which unit your are interested in. Phone them and introduce yourself (if you haven‘t done so already) and let the Adjutant or Recruiting Officer know you are interested in applying to become an artillery officer. Ask them for an opportunity to come to the armoury on a parade night and find out what they do in order to get an idea of their routine in Garrison. They can also provide a very good overview of what they do in the field in terms of commanding and controlling an artillery battery.

While all officer classifications provide interesting and challenging opportunities for qualified individuals, I beleive Artillery to be one of the most interesting and varied of all of the officer ranks (particularly in the Reserves).

Garrison work is pretty standard amongst all the combat arms units. In the field an artillery officer can be (generally given as the junior to more senior jobs):

Reconnaissance Officer - Prove and prepare new Gun positions for a battery to deploy into.

Command Post Officer - Oversee the command and control nucleus of the battery, interpret fire orders and control direction to the gun line.

Gun Position Officer - Commands the Gun Line and directs its operations and controls all personnel on the gun line.

Forward Observation Officer - One of the best jobs in the military. You act as liaison between the supported arm commander (infantry or armour) and interpret his tactical plan into a fire support concept.

Battery Captain - Second in Command of the Battery. In general focuses on local defence, administration, and overall responsible for the gun area (gun line and rear echelon).

Battery Commander - Commands the Battery and ensures the overall intent of the Regimental Commander and the supported arm commander (Battalion Level) is being met.

In addition to artillery specific positions, an officer must be proficient in common to all arms fieldcraft, tactics, etc.

Hope this helps a little bit. I encourage you to get in touch with the local militia unit in your area and ask them for a tour, etc. If there is more then one unit, by all means, get in touch with all of them and ask to spend a night with them. It would be well worth your time.

Good Luck
 

Gunner

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What does an Artillery Officer do? O come on, stop baiting us working types like that.
Bruce, I was an NCM for a number of years as well ... I can tell you stories from both sides of the fence. Don‘t make me tell you my thoughts on 2 RCHA ;)

Regards
 
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Yes Man

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Thanks for the info that is more along the lines of what I was looking for.

One other question, is it hard to go from being an NCM to an officer? and is the experience learned by being an NCM valuable to in being an officer?

Right now I am 19 and in the process of completing my degree and I am not sure about where I would like to start. Although ultimately I would like to become an officer, there are a few things that make starting out being an NCM appealing, one of which being they pay for half of NCM’s tuition costs. Do you think it would be a good idea to join up as an NCM to gain the experience and they once I graduate apply to become an officer? or would it just a more efficient rout to start out as an officer?

BTW I am from Markham, and will be applying to the 7th Toronto RCA
 

Gunner

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Yes Man, since you are located in near Toronto, you have alot of opportunities open to you as there are numerous reserve units located there. I encourage you to phone the units that you are interested in and spend an evening or part of the weekend learning what they do.

One other question, is it hard to go from being an NCM to an officer? and is the experience learned by being an NCM valuable to in being an officer?
I have no particular leaning towards either. As I mentioned, I have seen very good officers and very bad officers come up from the ranks. I spent the better part of six years as an NCM before applying for commissioning. Am I a better officer for it? Yes and no.

Right now I am 19 and in the process of completing my degree and I am not sure about where I would like to start. Although ultimately I would like to become an officer, there are a few things that make starting out being an NCM appealing, one of which being they pay for half of NCM’s tuition costs.
It really comes down to choice. As an officer, you are automatically expected to lead, as an NCM you aren‘t. Your choice comes down to what type of person you are. Do you prefer to sit in the back, not take part in decision making, and accept what you are directed to do. Or are you the type of person that wants to make things happen and move toward a goal. Being a private is nice as you can sit back and learn the nitty gritty of being a soldier/gunner but it can be very frustrating if you are not the type of person that wants to be a follower. This is not to say you won‘t get into detail as an officer, you will. In addition, just because you are made an officer, it doesn‘t mean you will put on the uniform and automatically be expected to tell soldiers what to do. You will be brought along, trained, educated about what is expected of you. No one expects you to be the perfect officer the day you begin your career. As far as tuition costs go, they pay for all members of the Reserve Force in good standing.

Do you think it would be a good idea to join up as an NCM to gain the experience and they once I graduate apply to become an officer? or would it just a more efficient rout to start out as an officer?
I can‘t make the choice for you. You have to decide what you want, what you are able to accomplish and what your unit wants from you. Go to the unit and ask questions about the role of officers and the role of the soldiers. Talk with the unit recruiting staff. Then come back and ask so other questions.

Hope this helps.
 
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Yes Man

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Thanks again for the info. I am going down tomorrow night to go to the info session an to see what is involved in signing up.

Thanks
 

Gunner

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Thanks again for the info. I am going down tomorrow night to go to the info session an to see what is involved in signing up.
Make sure you ask alot of questions...don‘t be shy. You have alot of choices available to you and you need to find the one that suits you best. If you have questions after tomorrow night, feel free to ask.

Good Luck.
 

elscotto937

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The artillery is a great trade, and as a reservist you will not be signing your life away. Try it and if you don‘t like it...change. In addition, as a reservist you will not have "day to day" activities, you will do some basic administration and training on some evenings and weekends, then you will have some field exercises (someone has mentioned those above). The artillery does have the right combination of all combat arms. We fight with the infantry and armour and we have to understand thier tactics, drills and proceedures. There is the opportunity to coordinate aircraft, rockets and all forms of fire support. I echo the sentiment Forward Observation Officer is the best job in the artillery, if not the army.
As far as being an officer, or an NCM. Well, Gunner was exactly correct, you must ask yourself what type of person are you. I have seen many "wannabe" officers that have been removed from the army, who would have made good soldiers(NCMs). Also the reverse, there are many NCMs who would make excellent officers, but do not want to make the leap to the other side of the fence, because it is where they have become comfortable.
 

Pikache

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And this is in wrong forum.
Off to artillery forum it goes.
 
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