Author Topic: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression  (Read 55637 times)

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Offline jmlane

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Hello,

I am doing a bit of research about the artillery NCM trades and was seemingly unable to find a detailed account of the day-to-day activities of an artillery soldier at various levels of their career progression (the armour forum has some good posts that detail that trade very well). I would appreciate any information that could help me gain a better understanding of what life is like as a member of the artillery and what activities and duties would be involved. More specifically, I would like to know:
  • What are the current possibilities for postings in artillery (both locations and "jobs" within the trade)?
  • Once posted to a unit, what could your day-to-day activities be at the various postings?
  • How long should a gunner expect to be performing fundamental artillery jobs, ie. gun line duty, before they are likely to be considered or eligible for more specialized roles such as surveillance and target acquisition, forward observation, recce, etc.?

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.

Offline Lerch

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 13:12:31 »
  • What are the current possibilities for postings in artillery (both locations and "jobs" within the trade)?

The big postings for Artillery are; 1RCHA in Shilo, MB, 2RCHA in Petawawa, ON, 5RALC in Valcartier, QC, and the RCA School in Gagetown, NB. There's also 4AD Regt in Gagetown, NB and Moncton, NB, but that's all Air Defence.

Outside of those, for the western area, you can also get posted to CFB Suffield and CFB Wainwright, but those seem to be base duties and not regular Arty gigs.

  • How long should a gunner expect to be performing fundamental artillery jobs, ie. gun line duty, before they are likely to be considered or eligible for more specialized roles such as surveillance and target acquisition, forward observation, recce, etc.?

I'm speaking for members of 1RCHA here, and not the other Regt's (as I don't know how fast they move members). When I was posted back to the Regt back in '10, we were just reforming into 2 gun batteries, an STA battery and a FOO battery. My option to get into the STA came during a field ex when they asked who wanted to do it...

After my the first group was asked, most of our new members have just been tasked to C Bty (STA) from their posting, I'd assume it's similar with Z Bty (FOO). There have been a few members that have asked to come to C Bty, but they're usually hooked Gunners and Bombers. Once they do make it to the battery, they're loaded onto the appropriate courses as they come up.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 13:24:51 by Lerch »
Stay frosty

Offline jmlane

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2012, 12:01:14 »
Thank you very much for the response, Lerch.

Do you mind briefly detailing the typical duties and activities of a new Gunner? What sort of work would they be expected to do until they are given additional training?

You mentioned "hooked Gunners" in terms of minimum experience required usually to get posted to STA or OP Batteries. What courses/experience does a Gunner need to get their chevron?

Thanks again for the information!

Offline Lerch

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 23:44:42 »
Do you mind briefly detailing the typical duties and activities of a new Gunner? What sort of work would they be expected to do until they are given additional training?

I can only speak for C Bty on this one. New Gunners are usually loaded onto a string of courses, from AWLS to Driver Wheel, to Comms. Between those courses, and depending on the time of year, there's exercises and kit maintenance. A regular day out of the field for us usually involves brooms at some point, taking care of vehicles, the odd road move, lots of different things. Even Regimental duty now and then.

You mentioned "hooked Gunners" in terms of minimum experience required usually to get posted to STA or OP Batteries. What courses/experience does a Gunner need to get their chevron?

By 'hooked' I mean one chevron, but I don't mean that you MUST have time in to get into STA or FOO. Sometimes you'll directed to us when you get posted in, and sometimes the gun batteries will let you go after being on the guns for a couple years. Regardless, for your first hook (and second for that matter), it's all depending on time in, and merit.
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Offline jmlane

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 19:56:45 »
Thanks Lerch. I specifically have an interest in STA and/or FOO work (as far as I understand the duties at those postings), but only a mild curiosity in the work I expect will be waiting at the gun lines. Maybe that is a common sentiment for ambitious new Gunners, but I am concerned that it is a strong indication artillery may not be a good choice for me. Any thoughts?

Offline wasion92

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2012, 11:01:36 »
New guys have been known to get into STA and OP right off the bat here in 2 RCHA, it all depends on manning right now. Working on the gun lines as an no hook gunner is a lot of busy work when you're in garrison.

However check your inbox and get back to me if yea have any questions.

Offline Fatalize

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2012, 12:36:47 »
Don't forget there's also some interesting positions in the gun line batterys BHQ troop that have nothing to do with working on the guns. Recce, Command Post, Pronto,MT,QM, BC party etc..  These positions do take an amount time on the gunline to be selected for usually though.
The best part of waking up, is ...FIRE MISSION BATTERY.

Offline jmlane

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2012, 16:38:25 »
Thanks for the replies. Some great info being collected in this thread which is helping create a better informed picture of life as a new Gunner.

Don't forget there's also some interesting positions in the gun line batterys BHQ troop that have nothing to do with working on the guns. Recce, Command Post, Pronto,MT,QM, BC party etc..  These positions do take an amount time on the gunline to be selected for usually though.
I realized there was some (for a lack of a better term) dismounted soldering duties involved for gunners, but I wasn't sure who would do this, how often, and how you get assigned those duties.

If it possible to get a brief description of the Bty HQ troop jobs you listed? I have never heard of some of those jobs prior to your post.

Offline Fatalize

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2012, 18:34:37 »
If it possible to get a brief description of the Bty HQ troop jobs you listed? I have never heard of some of those jobs prior to your post.

A very brief description:

Recce - They go scout out the gun position and set up gun markers for when the guns come barreling in. They also set up and work the director which is how the guns are aimed.
Command Post- They communicate with everyone and give the guns all of the fire orders.
Pronto-Usually just 1 guy who is communications qualified and inputs crypto into the radios and makes sure all comms are up and running.
MT- aka the ammo party is in charge of delivering all of the ammo to the guns and disposing of the ammunition salvage (casings, charge bags, plastic)
QM - usually 1 ML following the convoy with a bunch of spare parts for everything and goodies to sell to the gunners.
BC Party- Usually a LAV carrying the battery commander along with the FOO's
The best part of waking up, is ...FIRE MISSION BATTERY.

Offline jmlane

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 19:17:50 »
Thanks Fatalize. Some of those sound very attractive as goals once a trained and qualified Gunner.

Are all those positions held by Artillery NCMs or are some embedded support trades, i.e. the Pronto or QM?

Offline Fatalize

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2012, 00:24:02 »
Are all those positions held by Artillery NCMs or are some embedded support trades, i.e. the Pronto or QM?

They are all artillery. There are lots of courses that qualify you to do different jobs.
The best part of waking up, is ...FIRE MISSION BATTERY.

Offline jeffb

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 23:37:13 »
In a gun regiment right now only about 1 in 5 of the total members of the regiment (and that's probably a high estimate) will be directly employed "on the guns" as their primary job. There is a whole host of other jobs as listed above. As a new member to the regiment however your chances are probably about 50/50 that you will be placed into a gun line job. If you really have your heart set on something else, STA for example, you can make that known through your chain of command and chances are you will find yourself moved over when a position opens up.
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Offline jmlane

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2012, 16:47:31 »
Thanks jeffb, that is really encouraging. It is nice to hear that their are possibilities in artillery beyond crewing the guns as a fresh Gunner.

Offline jeffb

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2012, 15:16:16 »
Don't think too harshly on serving as a gunner though. The 500+ soldiers in a gun regiment really are there for one reason, to provide indirect fire support. In other words, putting bullets down range. Without the work of those on the gun line, that can't happen and everyone else in a regiment who isn't on the gun line is there to support that primary goal.

If you have longer term goals to serve in a FOO party or in the STA, you will do a much better job with a solid understanding of gun line operations.
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2012, 15:47:45 »
Don't think too harshly on serving as a gunner though. The 500+ soldiers in a gun regiment really are there for one reason, to provide indirect fire support. In other words, putting bullets down range. Without the work of those on the gun line, that can't happen and everyone else in a regiment who isn't on the gun line is there to support that primary goal.

If you have longer term goals to serve in a FOO party or in the STA, you will do a much better job with a solid understanding of gun line operations.

I agree completely. I started as a gun number and didn't do too, too badly. A good gun troop, and the vast majority are just that, is a happy, cohesive bunch of tired, dirty, constantly gripping and outrageously profane warriors. The old saying "Stand by your guns" as a simile for determination and dedication means just that when the bad guys are shooting at our troops. Other people may have the luxury of taking cover, but the gunners run to the guns.  (And when the shooting stops, they form up and march away to demonstrate they are not abandoning their posts in action.)

Offline jmlane

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2012, 20:49:17 »
Thanks, jeffb and Old Sweat, for calling attention to that fact that the guns are the entire purpose of the artillery. I do not wish to appear critical of the gun line duties, since they are essential to ensuring proper indirect fire support. My questions stem from my wanting to be mentally prepared for the realities of applying for the artillery. I would be happy to do my time as a gun number to better learn the realities of indirect fire support, but ultimately I would hope to be placed in a position that (I believe) would be better suited to my abilities and skill set.

Thank you for the invaluable feedback and personal perspectives. This thread has been extremely helpful in my quest to better understand the trade from the outside looking in. I hope other prospective Gunners reading these posts feel similarly.

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2012, 21:03:57 »
but ultimately I would hope to be placed in a position that (I believe) would be better suited to my abilities and skill set.


I am not, or have ever been, in the Artillery but, i have seen and trained many soldiers and airmen. At this point and time, i don't think you can, yet, say which jobs in the artillery would be more suited to your skills and abilities.

Do the jobs you are assigned like they are the best thing that has ever happened to you. That is how you will find out what you are more suitable for.

Offline jmlane

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2012, 22:12:20 »
I am not, or have ever been, in the Artillery but, i have seen and trained many soldiers and airmen. At this point and time, i don't think you can, yet, say which jobs in the artillery would be more suited to your skills and abilities.
CDN Aviator, I am not claiming to know with certainty for which job I would be best suited. I do, however, have a good initial sense of this based on my research of what is possible. I shall endeavour to avoid making assumptions about jobs in which I have no experience.

Quote from: CDN Aviator
Do the jobs you are assigned like they are the best thing that has ever happened to you. That is how you will find out what you are more suitable for.
While I respect the notion of giving your all to your duty, regardless of what it is, it does strike me as a bit strange of a sentiment to suggest that "keeping your nose to the grindstone" in one particular role will tell you whether or not you are suited for other, potentially unrelated ones. Do you mind elaborating?

I want to serve in the CF and I recognize this is a privilege, not a right. I do not feel entitled to circumvent certain duties or tasks that must be done for the operational readiness of the CF. I am trying to avoid agreeing to be in a position where I have to *force* myself to treat my assigned duty as "the best thing that has ever happened to [me]", rather than that being the truth of the matter. Do you have any suggestions on how I can perhaps better identify those possibilities beyond the types of questions I have been posing on these forums?

Offline Fatalize

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2012, 23:08:29 »
Everyone in the Regiment is constantly moving around and changing positions, As a Gunner you have to be willing to grind it out in an unfavorable condition if that's what role the regiment needs you to fill for a while. You will never be "stuck" forever in the same role, that I can guarantee in the Artillery.

The gun line is a great go.. yes it can be challenging, cold, little sleep, loud noises and a lot of running around but at the end of the day you feel like you've at least accomplished something.

While I respect the notion of giving your all to your duty, regardless of what it is, it does strike me as a bit strange of a sentiment to suggest that "keeping your nose to the grindstone" in one particular role will tell you whether or not you are suited for other, potentially unrelated ones. Do you mind elaborating?

You can learn how the whole battery functions in the field from the gunline if you look around, and by talking to the gunners and bombers who would be glad to share their opinions.
The best part of waking up, is ...FIRE MISSION BATTERY.

Offline jmlane

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2012, 23:36:40 »
Thanks for the helpful reply, Fatalize.

Offline MrRGoyer

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2012, 07:54:31 »
I just want to say thanks for all the great information on this thread. As a potential future gunner, this is a wealth of information that that is greatly appreciated.
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Offline krimynal

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2013, 10:57:38 »
The big postings for Artillery are; 1RCHA in Shilo, MB, 2RCHA in Petawawa, ON, 5RALC in Valcartier, QC, and the RCA School in Gagetown, NB. There's also 4AD Regt in Gagetown, NB and Moncton, NB, but that's all Air Defence.

Outside of those, for the western area, you can also get posted to CFB Suffield and CFB Wainwright, but those seem to be base duties and not regular Arty gigs.

I'm speaking for members of 1RCHA here, and not the other Regt's (as I don't know how fast they move members). When I was posted back to the Regt back in '10, we were just reforming into 2 gun batteries, an STA battery and a FOO battery. My option to get into the STA came during a field ex when they asked who wanted to do it...

After my the first group was asked, most of our new members have just been tasked to C Bty (STA) from their posting, I'd assume it's similar with Z Bty (FOO). There have been a few members that have asked to come to C Bty, but they're usually hooked Gunners and Bombers. Once they do make it to the battery, they're loaded onto the appropriate courses as they come up.


 Sorry to bring this old topic back ! but I was just wondering are these posting still the case as of right now ???

Let's say if I hope to get into western Canada , the further I'll be able to be posted would be CFB Shilo MB ?

Wainwright and  Suffield are still duty posting ?
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2013, 11:07:12 »
The big postings for Artillery are; 1RCHA in Shilo, MB, 2RCHA in Petawawa, ON, 5RALC in Valcartier, QC, and the RCA School in Gagetown, NB.  There are no other "hard" Arty postings. 

If you want an "Any Trade" posting, you could land up anywhere, but not 'working' in your Trade.
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Offline krimynal

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2013, 11:20:32 »
okay , but I guess since I'm training to become an Arty Officer , I'd rather work as an Arty Officer lol.

So Shilo would be the one I should look into ! Hopefully getting posted there !

Lived all my life in Quebec and Ontario , so I would prefer anything in West Canada , but then , the army decide where you are going :) lol !
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Questions about Artillery NCM duties and career progression
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2013, 11:24:32 »
Time to buy some Neil Diamond recordings and listen to "Shilo".   >:D
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