Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Profession of Arms’ Category

Army to Extend OSUT for Infantry Soldiers

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

WASHINGTON — In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. Changes to the program are meant to increase Soldier readiness, making them more lethal and proficient before they depart for their first duty assignment, according to the Infantry School commandant, Col. Townley R. Hedrick.

Col. Jackson J. Seims relinquishes command of the 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade to Col. Thomas J. Siebold Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at Kanell Field, Fort Benning, Ga. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence)

The new OSUT program will include expanded weapons training, increased vehicle-platform familiarization, extensive combatives training and a 40-hour combat-lifesaver certification course, said Hedrick.

Further, the change will include increased time in the field during both day and night operations and include an increased emphasis on drill and ceremony maneuvers.

A NEEDED CHANGE

For the past 44 years, Infantry Soldiers were trained in a 14-week program of instruction. Ten weeks were allocated to basic military training, and an additional four were reserved for training Infantry-specific skills, Hedrick said. The Infantry career field makes up approximately 15 to 17 percent of the total force.

U.S. Army Infantry Soldiers-in-training assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade, begin their first day of Infantry one-station unit training (OSUT) February 10, 2017 on Sand Hill, Fort Benning, Ga. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence)

Discussions about changing OSUT began shortly after Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis identified the need to re-establish readiness and build a more lethal Infantry force, Hedrick said. And the Army Vision, recently published by Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, reinforces the defense secretary’s priority.

“Extending OSUT is about increasing our readiness and preparing for the future,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said. “This pilot program is the first step toward achieving our vision of the Army of 2028. With more time to train on critical Infantry tasks, we’ll achieve greater lethality.”

In response to the increased focus on readiness, specifically within the Infantry force, leadership within the U.S. Army Infantry School approached the 198th Infantry Brigade, which trains all Army Infantry forces, and asked what could be done to make better Infantry Soldiers.

“We asked them if they had a longer training pipeline, what could they do with it,” Hedrick said.

In turn, the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Infantry School started a combined effort with the 198th Infantry Brigade and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to develop an improved 21-week OSUT program. After consulting with the Army chief of staff, however, the combined OSUT team was directed to extend the new program to 22 weeks and include combat water survival training, he said.

The preliminary 22-week OSUT pilot program is slated to start this July with a graduation date scheduled for December, the commandant added.

The new 22-week OSUT should begin in 2019, sometime between July and October.

With the upcoming 22-week course, the Infantry School has already identified what new Soldiers will be part of the improved training, Hedrick said.

“U.S. Army Recruiting Command has already gone back to those identified personnel, regenerated their contract, and let them know that they would be part of the first classes to execute a new and improved training program,” Hedrick said.

THE NEW PROGRAM

Under the new OSUT program, Soldiers will get more training with their M4 rifle and increased hands-on experience with the M240 machine gun and the M249 squad automatic weapon.

“So across all the Infantry weapons, they will get more bullets,” Hedrick said. “And they will also shoot more at night, rather than just doing a day familiarization fire.”

In addition to increased weapons training, Soldiers will receive more field training experience, including tactical training repetitions that focus more on squad formations during day and night operations, he said. The goal is to help trainees understand where they fall within a fire team or rifle squad and make them more proficient while operating in the field.

“We looked at land navigation and individual Soldier skills,” Hedrick said. “Under the new course, a Soldier will do an individual day and night land navigation course on their own. They will also do a basic combative certification. That improves the mental and physical toughness of Soldiers coming through the Infantry OSUT.”

Additionally, the Infantry School has added six days of vehicle platform training to the new program. Under the 14-week program, Soldiers only received one day of training with their assigned vehicle. During the new course, Soldiers assigned to a Stryker or Bradley unit will learn how to drive and perform maintenance on their assigned vehicle.

A U.S. Army Infantry Soldier-in-training assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade, engages the opposing force (OPFOR) May 2, 2017, with a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) on a Stryker to provide support-by-fire during a squad training exercise, Fort Benning, Ga. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence)

Furthermore, a more significant emphasis on drill and ceremony has been built into the new curriculum.

“It is all about conditioning, following commands and working as a unit, so you will see an increasing level of discipline through drill and ceremony,” the commandant said. “We think this gets us to the objective of a more expert and proficient Soldier.”

Changes to the program create an extended and more gradual training process to help decrease injuries caused by lack of nutrition or poor conditioning, Hedrick said

“We’ve developed a set of metrics, with the U.S. Army Research Institute for Behavioral and Social Science Solutions to try and evaluate how the Soldiers are doing during the 22-week pilot program versus the 14-week program,” Hedrick said. “We’ve got an evaluation plan to try and look at ourselves and see if the product coming out has an improved proficiency — like we think it will.”

MANNING AND FUTURE OSUT CHANGES

With an increased time of training, the Infantry School must expand from five to eight battalions to ensure the same annual throughput of approximately 17,000 well-trained Soldiers. Fortunately, resources and facilities are available at Fort Benning to support the new program, Hedrick said.

Additionally, the Infantry School has been working with TRADOC to ensure they have enough drill sergeants in place to meet the 2019 launch date for the new 22-week OSUT.

A U.S. Army Infantry Soldier-in-training assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 198th Infantry Brigade, rappels off Eagle Tower March 4, 2017, on Sand Hill, Fort Benning, Ga. In 2019, the Army will extend one-station unit training for Infantry Soldiers from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence)

Under the current 14-week program, three drill sergeants are responsible for training a platoon of 60 Soldiers. For the 22-week program, the Infantry School is looking to augment OSUT companies with six additional Infantry instructors.

Overall, the additional instructors provide a better student-to-instructor ratio during certain aspects of the course, the commandant said.

At the conclusion of the 22-week pilot, the OSUT team will review the results and determine what parts of the program need to be re-sequenced. The pilot will also be used to determine the list of tasks assigned to each instructor, Hedrick said.

In addition to the changes to the Infantry School’s curriculum, the Army is looking at extending other OSUT programs. Currently, the U.S. Army Armor School and U.S. Army Engineer School are performing internal analyses of their curricula to determine what resources will be needed to extend their own programs.

“Extending Infantry OSUT will allow us to allocate more time to honing the necessary skills to provide greater capability to our commanders,” Dailey said.

With our first major change to Infantry training in 40 years, he said, we are investing in future Army readiness, which will ensure we are prepared to deploy, fight and win our Nation’s wars when called upon to do so.

By Devon L. Suits, Army News Service

Detachment B-52 (Project Delta) Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade

Monday, June 18th, 2018

When I joined the Army in 1985, most of my senior NCO leadership had served in Vietnam. They were men who had seen combat and we hung on their every word as we trained.

In the late 80s, I served in a LRSD in Germany. We turned to photocopies of a document produced by the Vietnam-era Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group’s Det B-52 aka Project Delta called ‘Reconnaissance Tips Of The Trade.’

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We poured over its 32 pages which were gold to us, offering guidance on how to configure equipment and conduct ourselves on patrols. Some of the information was outdated due to equipment changes, other data was not applicable because we faced a different foe, on different terrain. However, the basics remained the same. Around the same time, 1st Bn 7th SFG(A) released up update called ODB-720 Tips. Unfortunately, it was much more difficult to share information pre-internet and I never saw a copy until I was on a 3rd Group SOT-A in the early-90s.

The original is available on the web from Chapter 31 of the Special Forces Association at www.sfa31.org/deltarecontips. Whether you’re reading from a historical perspective or a professional one, there are still a few gems in there.

SFAB – Company Advising Team

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Theres been a lot of debate about what the Security Force Assistance Brigade brings to the table.

The core action element of the SFAB is the Company Advising Team (CAT) which consists of twelve personnel. Senior advisors lead the operations section and the support section. Both of the Infantry or Armor battalions, as well as the Cavalry squadron, can field nine of these teams, which are assigned the warfighting function enablers.

Team Leader = KD CPT 11A/19A
Assistant Team Leader = KD 1SG 11Z/19Z

Operations Senior Advisor = SSG 11B/19D
Intelligence Advisor = SGT 35F/M/N/P
Assistant Operations Advisor = SSG 11B/19D
Fires Advisor = SGT 13F
Explosive Hazard Advisor = SGT 89D/12B
Support Senior Advisor = SSG 11B/19D
Medical Advisor = SGT 68W
Logistics Advisor = SGT 92Y/92A
Communications Advisor = SGT 25U/C/L/S
Maintenance Advisor = SGT 91B

US Army Shows Us How Soldiers Have Changed Over The Last 50 Years

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

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Additional SFAB Bases Announced

Monday, May 21st, 2018

The US Army has announced the final three bases for its new Security Force Assistance Brigades. The 3rd SFAB at Fort Hood, TX; the 4th SFAB at Fort Carson, CO, and 5th SFAB at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA. Tgese john n the 1st at Ft Benning and 2nd at Ft Bragg. SFABs are specialized units whose core mission is to conduct advise-and-assist operations with allied and partner nations.

State of the Infantry: Updates to Marksmanship, Training

Monday, May 7th, 2018

FORT BENNING, Ga. — The U.S. is being challenged by a number of near-peer adversaries and, to a certain extent, terrorist organizations, said Brig. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue, Infantry School Commandant, Maneuver Center of Excellence.

Riflemen with 4th Infantry Division at Rukla Training Area, Lithuania, Aug. 24, 2017. T (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Lithuanian Land Forces)

“We still have the capability to defeat them all but we are at a point where we have to improve the mental and physical toughness of the infantry and ensure we’re incorporating new technologies and capabilities to ensure we remain the decisive force for the military,” he added.

Brig. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue, Infantry School Commandant, Maneuver Center of Excellence, congratulates Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division, who won the Best Mortar Competition during Infantry Week, April 2018 at Fort Benning, Ga. (Photo Credit: David Vergun)

Donahue spoke after attending the April 16 awards ceremony for the inaugural Best Mortar Competition. The competition was part of the April 13-20 Infantry Week here.

The general addressed several initiatives that the Army is taking to ensure the infantry retains overmatch.

One of the most fundamental responsibilities the Army has is ensuring that the right people are being selected for the Infantry Branch, he said, describing the infantry as “the 100,000 who close with the enemy.”

The Army is doing that through reform of its talent management system, he said. “We want intelligent, physically fit people who are capable of enduring hardships against a near peer.”

At higher echelon, the Office of the Secretary of Defense is also examining the attributes of a successful infantryman with its Close Combat Lethality Task Force, he added.

Once these people are recruited into the Infantry Branch, it’s important that they master infantry basics right off the bat, he said. “You can’t do anything without mastering the basics. You have to be very good at that.”

Soldiers compete in Best Mortar Competition during Infantry Week, April 2018 at Fort Benning, Ga. (Photo Credit: David Vergun)

In July, the Army will run a pilot to extend the Infantry One-Station Unit Training out to 21 weeks, he said, explaining that OSUT is the equivalent of Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training.

Lengthening OSUT “will help ensure we’re producing the right person that can walk into a unit, ready to fight, win and survive,” he said.

In another initiative, the Army will be transitioning to a new marksman qualification test, he said. Soldiers will still be given 40 rounds, but instead of just shooting prone and from a foxhole, they will shoot prone, prone unsupported, kneeling and then standing — all within six minutes. “It will reflect what we think you’ll be doing in combat.”

Soldiers compete in the Combatives Tournament during Infantry Week, April 2018 at Fort Benning, Ga. (Photo Credit: David Vergun)

Soldiers will also be trained to fight in austere environments where communications is degraded or denied, he said, terming it a “multi-domain environment” that includes space, cyber, urban and even subterranean battle.

Donahue noted that when he was a lieutenant going through infantry training, Soldiers were taught how to continue the fight despite severed communications with headquarters. “We’ve got away from that, but we’re going back to doing that.”

What he didn’t learn as a lieutenant, he said, was how to deal with social media that the enemy will use to gain an advantage. That too is being incorporated into the schoolhouse.

To fight and win also means equipping Soldiers with the right technology and capability, he said. Cross-functional teams will be going after that in the new Futures Command.

For instance, virtual reality will enable Soldiers to get a lot more training in than they normally would with live-training only. Virtual training environments allow commanders to run Soldiers through many more repetitions, at no extra cost, before going to validate in a live environment.

Col. Townley Hedrick, deputy commandant for the Infantry School, said that the Army is developing a functional fitness test that will better prepare Soldiers for the rigors of combat.

Hedrick spoke after attending the Combatives Tournament awards ceremony, another Infantry Week event, held concurrently with the Best Mortar and Best Ranger competitions.

While vigorous and repetitive training is important, “when you compete at anything, it makes people up their game to the highest level,” he said. “You can train and train and train, but it’s actually competition that takes you to that final level of precision and perfection.”

Hedrick predicted that there will be more competitive events coming throughout the Army similar to those featured here during Infantry Week.

By David Vergun, Army News Service

(Follow David Vergun on Twitter: @vergunARNEWS)

The Art of the Operational Advisor

Monday, May 7th, 2018

The U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG), headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, selects, trains, and prepares the most qualified applicants to become Operational Advisors (OAs). Operational Advisors are subject matter experts in their field. They are seasoned warriors who support Army and Joint Force Commanders to enhance Soldier survivability and combat effectiveness, and enable the defeat of current and emerging threats in support of Unified Land Operations.

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Operational Advisors are senior enlisted Soldiers (Sgt. 1st Class and above), Officers (Capt. to Lt. Col.) and Consultants. Most of the consultant Operational Advisors are combat veterans with Special Operations background, who were once senior ranking enlisted and officers, and are now retired from the military. The consultants continue their service supporting AWG deployed in theater and stateside by mentoring, coaching, and providing guidance to the active duty Operational Advisors. These OA consultants are a critical asset to the organization and assist in the overall completion of the mission. All OAs communicate with each other to spread the knowledge from their observations past and present across the formation.

The Asymmetric Warfare Group has a worldwide focus with regionally aligned squadrons. Traveling in small teams, OAs must also be able to accomplish the mission individually with ambiguous instruction to meet the Commanders Intent. As the OAs prepare to conduct a mission, they will gather information that allows them to identify the initial threat situational template and understand the Operational Environment. The OA will then embed with units and gather first hand observations on enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to increase their situational understanding of the threat. As an external observer, AWG OAs can then assist commanders with material or non-material solutions to provide a time sensitive upper hand in a complex and fluid environment. Operational Advisors will think, adapt, and anticipate ensuring mission success.

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It is clear that AWG places emphasis on readiness of all personnel prior to deploying into a combat zone. As a Combat Cameraman (COMCAM) in support of the Asymmetric Warfare Group, I received an extensive amount of training to prepare myself for most missions during my assignment. (This training is a requirement for all OAs, Operational Advisory Support Personnel, and consultants in the organization regardless if scheduled to deploy or not.) I attended the Combat Skills Training Course (CSTC) where advanced and refresher tactics such as shoot, move, communicate, and medicate skills are taught. In addition to immediate and remedial drills, transition drills from primary to alternate weapons, barrier shooting, and several shooting positions are enforced through scenario driven events. I received a class on different communication platforms and their tactical applications in combat. The medical training was an introduction to mass casualty situations and how to categorize patients for treatment and evacuation if an event became catastrophic. I also attended an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) 101 class to get familiarized with all equipment in the personal medical aid kit and how to properly use it. The medic cannot save everyone, but with helping hands from combat lifesavers many battlefield deaths have been prevented simply by someone stopping the bleeding of a casualty. First Aid is a high pay off task and Operational Advisors and OA support personnel go through extensive training to maintain proficiency on this skill.

Integration is a major component of becoming part of the team. After completing CSTC, Charlie Squadron members provided further mentoring to complete additional training and prepare for deployment. Additionally, I attended weekly briefings alongside senior members of the squadron to gain situational awareness of the areas I could be providing support. The squadron’s logistician ensured I was ready to deploy and coordinated for issue of AWGs equipment and weapons. They worked hand in hand assisting me to make sure I had everything I could possibly need in combat and so I could be outfitted and look similar to the advisor I would be shadowing. They helped me coordinate the shipment of my equipment overseas; thus making the deployment official.

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I had the unique opportunity to deploy in May, 2018 with Sgt. 1st Class Roberto (Rob) Crull, an AWG Explosive Ordnance Disposal Advisor from Charlie Squadron to Iraq, as he supported units during Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). I was able to witness first hand how an advisor works from getting into country, to coordinating embeds with an operational element. Prior to departure from the AWG hub in Iraq, we prepared equipment to be self-sufficient so that we would not be a burden on the supported unit. I learned that AWG has the capability to establish expeditionary communications via BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) for secure communication in remote locations. Sgt. 1st Class Crull established a point of contact with the unit to make sure that they could accommodate our stay in their area of operations. Sgt. 1st Class Crull stated that “an OA should never be a hindrance to a unit he/she embeds with. An OA brings everything they need to establish all forms of communications to include solar kits for power for when in austere environments.”

Upon arrival to the unit we were supporting, Sgt. 1st Class Crull met with leadership, introduced himself, gave a capabilities brief on his role, why he was in their area of operations, and presented an overview of what he was looking to accomplish. Once communication was established within the unit, I witnessed the relationships immediately grow between Sgt. 1st Class Crull, unit leaders, and the Soldiers around the area. Sgt. 1st Class Crull quickly became an icon as many Soldiers opened up to him with the many challenges they faced. Sgt. 1st Class Crull and I made ourselves a part of that team by sleeping in the transient tent with the Soldiers versus being in a VIP tent away from unit members, which is what the camp mayor was trying to do out of generosity. A humble servant spirit is necessary to operate with AWG.

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An incident occurred during my time with him where the supporting unit had to respond to a Fallen Angel crisis in their area of operations. Sgt. 1st Class Crull’s past experience in Fallen Angel incidents and mine in forensic photography to assist investigators played a vital role in this unfortunate situation. Sgt. 1st Class Crull was able to integrate us into the flow of operations to assist during the crisis. We loaded into vehicles and moved out with the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) to the site. My initial impression was that this was enemy related and my training prepared me to respond with force if necessary. I was ready to perform my duties as a Soldier and secure the site. My training allowed me to be confident in my abilities and calm under stress, but also to respond accordingly. Nothing can prepare you mentally for how to respond to all situations. It is true what they say, in stressful situations your training will kick in and it’s like you automatically know what you have to do. Once the scene was secure and all heroes were recovered from the site, I switched from rifleman to a combat photographer. I began to take photos of the scene to paint the picture for the investigators before the scene could have been contaminated from wind or operational disturbance.

Unit members in the supported unit, valued the knowledge that Sgt. 1st Class Crull presented. Before our departure from the unit, Sgt. 1st Class Crull was able to provide advice and “Make the Unit in Contact Better”. I learned that an Operational Advisor has extensive resources and reach back capabilities, providing the units in contact with rapid solutions. Everything the OA does is based on building relationships within units and earning their trust. The supporting unit was very thankful and opened the doors for him to return. Sgt. 1st Class Crull bolsters the term “quiet professional” and is a great representation of AWG. This was a great experience and I was able to see how AWG operates from a tactical and operational perspective.

The OAs job is never-ending. Upon returning to the states they must gather their observations from the duration of the deployment for post mission dissemination. Those observations are non-attributable towards any specific unit, and identify ways to properly assist the fighting force to defeat current and future threats. The process then starts over and the OA will engage with units during home station training and also at the Combat Training Centers (CTC) to support the next deployment.

When talking to Sgt. 1st Class Crull during one of my days with him, he stated the Charlie Squadron Commander’s vision and in his own words what an AWG Operational Advisor does:

“We strive to make units in contact better by understanding the enemy and the complex operating environment while moving to the sound of guns. AWG is not there to tell a unit they are doing things wrong, we are there to identify outdated doctrine and friendly TTPs so that units in contact can adapt. Successes of operational solutions can then be carried forward to units deploying and currently deployed across the globe” Lt. Col. Kirk Liddle, Charlie Squadron Commander.

Earning the title of an Operational Advisor is not for everyone. The job is very demanding, but the rewards are endless. Once you are part of the Asymmetric Warfare Group, you become part of the AWG family. Families make lifelong bonds through the unique experience of a high operations tempo environment. If you wish to make a difference and be part of the solution, apply for selection at www.awg.army.mil.

Photos feature U.S. Army SSG Jeremiah Hall and SFC Roberto Crull, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Operational Advisor with Charlie Squadron, Asymmetric Warfare Group, waits at a landing zone for transport at a Forward Tactical Assembly Area in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, Mar. 22, 2018. AWG provides operational advisory support globally and rapid solution development to enhance survivability and combat effectiveness, and enable the defeat of current and emerging threats in support of Unified Land Operations. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Randis Monroe)

Story by SGT Randis Monroe, AWG

2nd SFAB Is Recruiting

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

The 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade is forming at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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Their mission is to deploy in support of a Combatant Commander, integrate with foreign partner forces, assist and advise local security operations to build partner security capacity and capability and achieve regional security in support of US National Interests.

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They are looking for experienced NCO in the following MOSs to fill their ranks.

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I am serious as a heart attack when I recommend that you consider an assignment with SFAB. The Army is putting a lot of emphasis on these new units. If garrison duty has you down, assignment to an SFAB will get you back on track.

By all accounts, the 1st SFAB is filled with excellent NCOs and Officers and they are being fielded the latest equipment, receiving training not offered to most in the conventional forces, and are being deployed to combat zones. That’s what being a Soldier is all about.

There are also some incentives:

$5,000 bonuses (Assignment Incentive Pay (AIP)) for qualified voluteers–as long as the Soldier serves in the unit for at least 12-months.

– Special Promotion Category to SGT–fully eligible SPCs/CPLs promoted with 799 points upon completion of Security Force Assistance Advisor Course (SFAAC).

– Suspended PME requirement to attain pin-on eligibility to SGT through MSG.

– Assignment of choice upon completion of 24-month assignment.

If you’re interested, here’s the link.

www.armyreenlistment.com/sfab