Dangerous Recruiter

 

Written by Sgt. Scott Faddis

- Published - May 10, 2005

   

Spc. Jorge Sanchez calls in fire from a grid coordinate.  He uses the radio to talk to the Fire Direction Control, and the binoculars to see the round's impact.

Photo by Sgt. Scott Faddis

Spc. Jorge Sanchez calls in fire from a grid coordinate.  He uses the radio to talk to the Fire Direction Control and the binoculars to see the round's impact.

Recruiters have always been dangerous, and this one just became a lot more dangerous. Spc. Jorge Sanchez is learning the skills of a Forward Observer (FO), or 13F in Army lingo. FO’s are commonly known as the deadliest people on the battlefield.

 

FO’s are so deadly because as members of the field artillery, their job is to call for fire on the enemy in the form of high-explosive shells.  A skilled FO attached to a maneuver unit in the infantry or armor can quickly end an ambush by the enemy, soften targets for the infantry and destroy hardened fighting positions. 

 

Sanchez works full time in Orem, Utah, as a recruiter for the National Guard and the Utah Valley State College Reserve Officer Training Corps.  His training as a former Marine scout and infantryman makes the 13F skill a perfect fit for him. 

 

“F-D-C [Fire Direction Control], this is Bravo-One-One. Adjust fire, over,” Sanchez calls in.  He is sitting on a hilltop three miles from the target area and taking his test on calling in fire from a grid.  

 

“Adjust fire, out,” replies 2nd Lt. Jessie Frampton.  Frampton confirms to the FO that the artillery is ready to receive the fire mission. 

 

“Grid …[a six digit grid coordinate]. Break. Direction, Four-Five-Zero-Zero, over.”  Sanchez is targeting an old abandoned bus in the impact area.  The grid is his estimation of where the bus is on the map, and then he will guide the artillery directly onto the target. 

 

Sanchez then lets the FDC know what the target is, what type of round he wants used, and once the bus is targeted he wants them to fire extra rounds to ensure that it is destroyed.  “One Bus, H-E [high explosive] quick in effect, out.”

 

“Target number Alpha-Alpha-Zero-Zero-Seven four rounds, out,” Frampton calls back.  She lets Sanchez know the fire for effect will be four rounds. 

 

“Zero-Zero-Seven shot, over,” Frampton calls to let Sanchez know the shot should be any minute. 

 

KABOOM! The 100-lb. high-explosive rounds fired from 155mm howitzers are five miles away, but they still sound like thunder crashing down.  

 

Spc. Jorge Sanchez uses a MELIOS Laser Range Finder to determine distances to points within the impact area.

Photo by Sgt. Scott Faddis

Spc. Jorge Sanchez uses a MELIOS Laser Range Finder to determine distances to points within the impact area.

Sanchez waits for the shell to impact.  He scans with his eyes until he sees the black smoke of the explosion. He quickly looks through the binoculars so he can direct fire even closer to the target. 

 

“Zero-Seven, left four hundred, over,” Sanchez calls into Fire Direction Control to let them know the adjustment that is required.  

 

“Left four hundred, out.” 

 

After two more rounds from the howitzers, Sanchez is right on the target and orders the fire for effect on the abandoned bus. 

 

“Drop Five-Zero, fire for effect, over,” calls in Sanchez.

 

Within two minutes there are four loud booms, and the bus is covered in a cloud of smoke.  When the smoke clears, you can see that the bus has moved a few feet due to the hits and explosions. Any enemy elements near the target would have been destroyed.   

 

After graduating from the FO class, Sanchez will return to his job as a recruiter.  Although his first love is the field, he finds recruiting to be another important part of his life. 

 

“Being a recruiter is a difficult job, but it is real rewarding.  Setting up a kid’s first bank account or seeing one graduate college and then giving them a job afterwards.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing that,” said Sanchez. 

 

Forward Observers work with the crews of the howitzers to pinpoint enemy targets on the battlefield.  After calling in a fire mission to the howitzers, FO’s like Spc. Jorge Sanchez wait for their shots to hit the target.  

Photo by Sgt. Scott Faddis

Forward Observers work with the crews of the howitzers to pinpoint enemy targets on the battlefield.  After calling in a fire mission to the howitzers, FO’s like Spc. Jorge Sanchez wait for their shots to hit the target.  

Photo by Sgt. Scott Faddis

Forward Observers work with the crews of the howitzers to pinpoint enemy targets on the battlefield.  After calling in a fire mission to the howitzers, FO’s like Spc. Jorge Sanchez wait for their shots to hit the target.