OP Assistant... So hows it work?

#1
OK now that I've concluded OP Assistant is the job for me, I'm looking to get a little more depth as to how it works. It's been hard for me to dig this up since all the info I can find on the net is about the US Army/USMC and USAF Combat Controllers.
So a few questions if you'll oblige me:

What's the structure like? Do you normally work within a team? Are you sometimes stuck into a unit on your own? Is it normally at Pn, Coy or Bn level?

What is the job itself like for a normal assistant? What are the usual duties?

Do you get much combat training and do you often have to operate as and with Infantry?

And do you remain part of an Arty Regiment or are you part of the maneuvre unit you work for?

Cheers for any help you can give me.
 
#2
Mr.Brown said:
What's the structure like? Do you normally work within a team? Are you sometimes stuck into a unit on your own? Is it normally at Pn, Coy or Bn level?

You normally work in a smallish team (4-6 folk) but it can be a bit bigger.

What is the job itself like for a normal assistant? What are the usual duties?

Checking your FOO has read the map properly. Adjusting fire whilst the FOO is off for tea and stickies at Coy HQ. Once you are a bit more senior, you run the OP Party, at which the FOO is a guest . . . . .

Do you get much combat training and do you often have to operate as and with Infantry?

You may be working with Inf or Armour. Whichever, you'll be chopped around the battlespace as part of the combined arms battle.

And do you remain part of an Arty Regiment or are you part of the maneuvre unit you work for?

You stay part of your Regiment, although you may be fed and watered by your supported arm unit.

Cheers for any help you can give me.
I realise the above is a bit vague, but there is an element of the string-length scenario here.

If you are in a FST in Afg, your team might be a bit bigger, and you'll be shovelling shells, bombs, rockets, missiles, GPMG, ECM and anything else to hand in the direction of Terry Taleban.

If you are on ex in the UK, your team will be a bit smaller.

It's the best job in the Army for a JNCO in my opinion*. Being an FOO is the best job for an officer. Both are part of the same OP Party.



* with the possible exception of AFCO Fiji
 
#3
lol thanks mate that about covers it actually. So there's a bit of work if you're just a chap as well, that puts my mind at ease, I was worried you had to be a bit more senior to get the job.
Oh I am wondering one thing: Will I have to carry a jimpy?
That is a thought I do not relish.
 
#5
Good point, I just figured they might sting you with one to defend the team if your post is about to get overrun by opposing forces joe.
LSW I can dig, they look kinda sexy, although I dont really understand the logic in making them for the SAW role.
 
#7
Mr.Brown said:
So I guess my next question is what is the course like? And what's the selection for it like?[/quote]

1. learn to drink tea.

2. learn how not to dig.

3. learn how to give fm when gun bunnies are resting

4. you dont get selected to go on the ops.. if you want an easy life fill your pants...
always first to get end-ex..
always first in the showers

the list is endless....
 
#8
aye its good craic up in the OP party, but unfortunately the rest of the regiment loves to hate you because of

a) supposed easy life
b) ignorance, the boys on the guns rarely have a clue what actually happens in an OP!
c) and finally cos you feck off in your own wee group to tab/drive to your OP lookout, or if you're lucky get flown there (big up OP Onion!)
 
#10
before you get all excited............ unless you are on an Op tour you WILL spend your first few years making some W***er brews all the time, writing down the missions in the signals log but rarely getting on the net and tabbing around with bits of kit that you never use or need........

after that however I agree with Darbyshire its the best job in the services except for one ..............

(and now i am starting to realise why cannon pigs hate OP's)
 
#11
Sounds like fun. Will I be seeing much in the way of ops? This is personally part of the appeal to joining the British Army instead of the Australian one, so I'd be ticked off if I took a job that wound up being all about exercises in the UK.
 
#12
If the guns go you go, simple as
 
#13
Works for me. Para Gunners is out for me because I have an injury in my inner ears that'd stop be from parachuting, but I figure I could give the Commando Gunners a crack after I've been in for a while.
Then again, maybe not, given what I have seen of Royal Marines initiation rituals...
 
#14
Mr.Brown said:
Works for me. Para Gunners is out for me because I have an injury in my inner ears that'd stop be from parachuting, but I figure I could give the Commando Gunners a crack after I've been in for a while.
Then again, maybe not, given what I have seen of Royal Marines initiation rituals...
edited due to lack of interest..
 
#15
It's not a hearing thing. My hearing has been assessed perfect on several occasions. No my inner ears are no good at handling very rapid drops in pressure, as one would experience in parachuting. Flying as a passenger is still kosher, and I havent had any troubles with the two dozen flights I have taken over the past 10 years, and I haven't had any trouble most of the times I have been SCUBA diving, however I did have an accident which nearly made them rupture, although, to be fair, it was the kind of accident that could have caused my lungs to rupture as well. Essentially my ears don't pop as easily as they should, thats it.
Basically the MOs here told me I'd be fine in any job that wasn't para, SF or Aircrew.
 
#16
Mr.Brown said:
It's not a hearing thing. My hearing has been assessed perfect on several occasions. No my inner ears are no good at handling very rapid drops in pressure, as one would experience in parachuting. Flying as a passenger is still kosher, and I havent had any troubles with the two dozen flights I have taken over the past 10 years, and I haven't had any trouble most of the times I have been SCUBA diving, however I did have an accident which nearly made them rupture, although, to be fair, it was the kind of accident that could have caused my lungs to rupture as well. Essentially my ears don't pop as easily as they should, thats it.
Basically the MOs here told me I'd be fine in any job that wasn't para, SF or Aircrew.
Seek some advice from someone....
 
#17
Small arms I'm fine with, I've fired a bunch of different weapons in Thailand and on various friends' farms from 0.45 and 9mm Pistols to 12 Gauges and .303 Rifles. As I said I've managed fine 30 of the 31 times I've been SCUBA diving, which is usually a pretty good teller on inner ear troubles from what I've been told, so in general it's meant to be fine according to the Docs. And that includes the Army ones here, who said it should be fine as long as I can sit on a passenger plane. Which I can.
And, um, wouldn't standing next to an arty Cannon with no ear protection while it was firing ruin anyone's ears?
 
#19
Mr.Brown said:
And, um, wouldn't standing next to an arty Cannon with no ear protection while it was firing ruin anyone's ears?
Errr Yep it sure would!
Which is why Mr. Brown the OP's are your best route...after you've applied for RA Sigs field......good luck....
 
#20
Right Mr.Brown, this thread's wandering all over the place:

1. Do Phase 1 (asking to go to the RA - 1 RHA, 3RHA, 4 RA, 19 RA, 26 RA are AS90, 40 RA are light gun, 7 Para and 29 Cdo are Light Gun);
2. Do Phase 2 (for you do GUNNER COMMAND SYSTEMS - GCS or it may be titled ARTY COMD SYS - ACS) - signals basically;
3. Choose a Regt - probably not 29 Cdo as they are weird (joking), but seriously, they can draw some odd roles so an inner ear problem may not suit them either (Doc could clarify).
4. Get to Regt, tell them you are GCS trained and desperate to go OP.

THEN

Depending on the Regt and the shortages in their OPs, you may go straight to an OP party. You may be told to wait a bit. THIS IS REGIMENTAL POLICY, so will be decided by the Regiment. Tip your hand at Ph 2 - that way the guys who place people can tell the Regt you are dead keen to go OP and they may find you a slot in a Regt who will take you straight in.

THEN

Once you reach OPs, you will start as an OPA Signaller. You will monitor the net, write down the transmissions, make brews, help the FOO and the FOO Ack (Ack = Assistant) do their jobs by squaring away nif-naf and trivia for them.

Again depending on the regiment, you will do your OPA L2 course in due time (teaching you the basics of OP Assistant stuff) or you can even jump straight to OPA L3 (if you have GCS L2). OCncurrent to this, you will undertake promotion courses. Once you reach LBdr, you may find yourself conducting missions under supervision and then when you become a Bdr you will become a FOO Ack proper - doing the full job, supporting your FOO and unleashing hell!

I would say minimum time from arriving at a Regt to calling in fire - 1 1/2 - 2 years if you are good enough to reach LBdr and go straight to OPs.

It is fairly fuzzy as each Regt will be different and be manned differently.

As for Op deployments, each gunner Regt has been to Iraq or Afghan in the last year or so and is projected to keep doing so for the near future.

I think that is most stuff (hopefully useful!).

Cheers D_S
 

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