Army ASI 3Z: Mortar Unit Officer

I have been writing a series of posts on various ASIs in the Army. ASI stands for Additional Skill Identifier. This is an added skill an Army Officer can attain on top of the Skill they started their Army career with.

It is a wise move to get any extra skills you can in the Army. After all, the more you know, the more valuable you are.

In today’s post, we are going to examine the Army ASI 3Z: Mortar Unit Officer. Mortar Unit Officer’s are an important position when a war is on against enemies of the United States. I will provide some information about what the Army ASI 3Z: Mortar Unit Officer does; the training they receive, and any added information I can find.

If any of you reading this are, or were Mortar Unit Officers, we welcome your input. We also thank you for your service.

What Mortars Are Used For

While everyone reading this probably knows what a mortar is, I am writing this just for those who are unaware. Mortars are a weapon that fires a projectile at short range. It is normally used to support infantry troops, but mortars can also be used in other applications too.

Mortars have been in use for many years. Experts state that the first mortars used were in the mid 1400’s. These devices fired stones high and for a short distance. The grandfather of the mortars we use today was the Stokes Mortar. It was designed by Sir Wilfred Stokes in World War I to fire into trenches. This was useful, as artillery shells had a difficult time being fired into trenches because they had a low trajectory.

Why You Should Consider Attaining The Army ASI 3Z

The number one reason an Army Officer should consider becoming a Mortar Unit Officer is to help defend the United States against her enemies. As a Mortar Unit Officer, you will lead soldiers in both offensive and defensive techniques that can make a difference in any battle. Mortars have been one of the primary reason for wins on battlefields over the years.

As a Mortar Unit Officer, you will use strategic moves and firing patterns to disrupt enemy combatants, allowing infantry to overtake positions. Mortars are used to:

  • Neutralize enemy forces

  • Provide illumination on the battlefield

  • Destroy resources the enemy is utilizing

  • Provide a screening

  • Fix enemy positions

  • Deceive the enemy

As a Mortar Unit Officer, you may find yourself using various offensive strategies. Historical examples have provided some great mortar offensive techniques including:

  1. Reconnaissance: This is simply a “test run” before a deliberate attack. Using mortars to disrupt, a small team will move in to test the enemy’s abilities to be able to plan a good strategy.

  2. Contact Movement: This system is used when the enemy’s position is not known. Mortars are used to help troops move forward until contact is made with enemy forces.

  3. Raid: A raid is normally a platoon moving upon enemy forces to disrupt their operations, liberate POWs or to secure valuable information. Mortars are used either as a deception or to lay down cover.

  4. Hasty Attack: Normally, the Army relies on detailed plans, but in some cases, that isn’t possible. The attack is chaotic and mortars are used to hit objects of opportunity.

  5. Exploit: This follows a deliberate attack, and keeps enemy forces in confusion. Mortars are fired in patterns both in front and behind the enemy, and used to destroy any resources.

  6. Deliberate Attack: This is a planned attack, and mortar units are moved into positions to support infantry units. The mortars are normally used to deliver precise and heavy fire.

This is just a portion of what the Army ASI 3Z will learn and use as a Mortar Unit Officer.

Army ASI 3Z: Mortar Unit Officer Training

The Infantry Mortar Leader Course is an intense training for NCOs and Army Officers. You will gain the knowledge on supervising and directing the fire of a mortar platoon. This course is held in Fort Benning, Georgia. You will receive 5 weeks of training which will include:

  • Mechanical training that will show you how to repair issues with the mortars.

  • Mission training will look at historical examples and show the many strategies that can be used on the battlefield.

  • Special missions will look at the various possibilities that mortars can, and should be used.

  • In the final week, there will be a deep look at tactical employment of mortars.

This is just a sample of what you will learn. There is much more.

Final Thoughts

My Uncle was in charge of a mortar platoon in Vietnam. If not for these mortars, it is a fact that we would have lost many more soldiers. Mortars are an integral part of the Army’s overall strategy in fighting enemies.

I highly recommend that you take the Infantry Mortar Leader Course and have the ASI 3Z designation in your Army portfolio.

I would love to hear from any of you who do have the Additional Skill Identifier 3Z. Tell us more about the position…what you like and what you dislike.

If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, you can post them below. Thank you and have a great day. Here are some other links on this subject you may enjoy:

References

Mortars on Wikipedia

FM 7-90 Chapter 4

Infantry Mortar Leader Course at Ft Benning

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