Infantry Drills

1-146: Forward Observer

Previous: 1-142: Platoon Medic

1-146. The fire support team is the platoon’s expert on indirect fire planning and
execution. The fire support team is the primary observer for all fire support assets to include company and battalion mortars, field artillery, and any other allocated fire support assets. He is responsible for locating targets and calling and adjusting indirect fires. He must know the mission and the concept of operation, specifically the platoon’s scheme of maneuver and concept of fires. He works directly for the platoon leader and interacts with the company fire support team. The fire support team must also—

  • Inform the fire support team headquarters of the platoon situation, location, and fire support requirements.
  • Prepare and use maps, overlays, and terrain sketches.
  • Call for and adjust indirect fires.
  • Select targets to support the platoon’s mission.
  • Select observation post(s) and movement routes to and from selected targets.
  • Operate digital message devices and maintain communication with the battalion and company FSO.
  • Maintain grid coordinates of his location.
  • Be prepared to back up the platoon leader’s radio on the higher headquarters net if needed.
  • Be prepared to employ close air support assets and Army aviation during close combat attacks.

Next: 1-147: Infantry Carrier Vehicle

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad