CONUS Replacement Center accepts first iteration at Fort Bliss
September 4, 2013
FORT BLISS, Texas -- The Continental U.S. (CONUS) Replacement Center is now fully operational, processing about 150 war fighters per weekly cycle, with an expected increase to more than 400.
Under the direction of the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, the CRC features instruction from some of the top trainers on the installation. The 3rd Battalion, 398th Regiment -- a unit comprised of mobilized Soldiers, many who have served as drill sergeants.
"The CRC's primary mission is, we mobilize individuals who are headed to one of 38 theaters of operation, different countries and different commands," said 1st Sgt. Dusty Ray Alexander, acting sergeant major of the 3rd Bn., 398th Regt. "We also focus on redeployers, ensuring they have a smooth transition back to their previous jobs."
This CRC is a combination of three entities: one was located in Virginia, where training for the Army Corps of Engineers specialties was handled; another from Fort Benning, Ga., where Department of Defense civilians and other military services were trained; and the other from Camp Atterbury, Ind., where support staff received their training.
"When you consolidate things to one location you can provide better resources and use those resources for multiple things," said Alexander.
For instance, training lanes are already in existence due to the high operational tempo of Reservists and National Guardsmen who rotate through as deploying units. This is something Alexander called a "plus factor."
Having Reservists tackle this mission means a plethora of skill sets, both civilian and military, is available to share with those being trained and help battalion operations run smoothly.
"It just gives us more expertise; it makes us more diverse," said Alexander, who learned about computer networking and switches from one of his Soldiers who doubles as a computer engineer in the civilian sector.