Training for Combat Earns Army Superior Unit Award
April 18, 2013
First Army mobilizes, trains, validates, deploys and demobilizes Reserve Component units in support of worldwide contingency operations such as Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, the Horn of Africa, Kosovo Forces, and others.
"Over the last several years, First Army has successfully mobilized more than 5,000 units and more than 260,000 Soldiers world-wide," said Col. Timothy Newsome, chief of operations, First Army Division East.
For these momentous efforts, First Army was recently awarded the Army Superior Unit award, acknowledging their outstanding meritorious service from June 1, 2008 through September 30, 2011.
"The leadership of First Army, our cadre of expert trainer/mentors, and our civilians stationed at our five Mobilization Force Generation Installations have done an exceptional job of preparing the Soldiers of our National Guard and Army Reserve formations for combat and non-combat deployments," said Newsome a native of Homerville, Ga. "Their collective efforts and the results they have produced over the years are quite frankly something that we're all proud of and something that parents across our nation appreciate as their sons and daughters prepare to go into harm's way to do our nation's bidding."
First Army not only provides trained and ready Army Reserve and National Guard Forces to combatant commanders around the world, trainers also ensure Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Reserve units are prepared for worldwide deployments.
"I believe the most important aspect of this award is that it serves as an acknowledgement of that very passion that drives us to do what we do on a daily basis on behalf of our fellow warriors and their families. We, in First Army, see our priority responsibility as ensuring these Soldiers are provided every skill set and every tool necessary to successfully accomplish their mission and return home safely to our great nation," explained Newsome.
With its mission to mobilize Servicemembers, First Army has developed two subordinate multi-component headquarters. First Army Division East is headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland and supports the eastern United States and First Army Division West is headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas and supports the western United States. The headquarters of First Army is located at Rock Island, Ill.
"The significance of the Army Superior Unit Award is that it recognizes not only Headquarters, First Army, but also its subordinate units, for ensuring that these units were ready to accomplish their missions," said Master Sgt. Eric Padron, human resources senior enlisted advisor, First Army Division East.
The multi-component division is comprised of nearly 6,000 Active Duty, Reserve Component, National Guard Soldiers, and civilians -- all working to man, equip, train, and deploy U.S. Army and sister service Reserve Component forces for deployments around the world.
"This contribution has left a profound impact on Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, and other contingency operations," said Newsome. "First Army as a whole has significantly contributed not only to our nation's defense, but also to maintaining the readiness of our Operational Reserve as a part of the Total Army Force."
First Army Division East is responsible for providing training and readiness oversight and mobilization operations for an area of responsibility spanning 27 states and territories east of the Mississippi River. First Army's Division West conducts training readiness oversight and mobilization of designated active and reserve component forces in the western area of responsibility in order to provide trained and ready forces to regional combatant commanders.
"First Army's mission is unique compared to most units," said 1st Sgt. Joseph Smith, first sergeant for First Army Division East. "Our job is to provide each deploying unit with the most up-to-date information, ensuring a successful mission."
As a whole, First Army conducts battle focused, tough, realistic training to provide equipped and ready Soldiers, leaders, and units.
"The Soldiers and civilians of First Army are understandably passionate about the training and preparation of our fellow citizens and see it as an operation that begins with the unit's arrival at the mobilization center and ends only upon their safe return from combat and successful demobilization," said Newsome.
First Army's trainer/mentors not only prepare Reserve Component Forces for deployments, they also deploy. Over the past year alone, several hundred First Army Soldiers have deployed as members of security forces advisor assistant teams and in support of the NATO Trainer Mentor Team mission in Afghanistan.
"Each one of our trainer/mentors is an expert," said Smith, a Rapid Rivers, Mich., native. "These noncommissioned officers and commissioned officers have the ability to lead and teach our armed forces efficiently about the most difficult situations they may encounter downrange."
Padron, a native of Tampa, Fla., recently redeployed from a deployment to Afghanistan as part of the NATO-TMT. He said this award was significant to him because he was personally part of the mobilization, training, validation, deployment and demobilization during that deployment.
"It was a successful event from start to finish," said Padron. "I was able to see first-hand how the training brigade prepared our team for movement. They did an excellent job, and it's great to know that I'm part of a unit that really cares for the readiness of Soldiers."