7th Sustainment Brigade hosts Silver Scimitar
November 24, 2009
FORT EUSTIS, Va - The 7th Sustainment Brigade hosted Silver Scimitar from Nov. 16-21 on Fort Eustis.
Silver Scimitar is the United States Army's only exercise designed to jointly train human resources (HR) units from all components slated for imminent deployment; in this case the units will be deploying within the next 90 to 120 days.
"Silver Scimitar is a long-running HR exercise that has been traditionally executed once annually," said Col. Kenneth W. Powell, Adjutant General project officer, Forces Command (FORSCOM). "This is the first time that we have done a second iteration. The main (exercise) takes place in March and April, and is focused on the next Human Resources Sustainment Center (HRSC) scheduled to deploy. Silver Scimitar is a United States Army Reserve Command-owned event. As an extension of Silver Scimitar, Silver Scimitar Lite is executed at a later calendar date to address a training shortfall for the HR community in order to provide a collective training apart, for deploying HR units that miss the year's first iteration of Silver Scimitar."
Approximately 50 HR subject matter experts being contributed by sources such as: FORSCOM Services Assessment and Training Team, Human Resources Command, Military Postal Service Agency, 52nd Theater Gateway, 9th Theater Gateway, Soldier Support Institute, Adjutant General School (AG School), 14th HRSC, 8th HRSC, Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center trained approximately 300 Soldiers that will deploy as 27 teams from eight units; half of the units coming from the active duty component and an equal amount coming from the reserve component.
The training was broken down with the first three days of the exercise being filled with the subject matter experts teaching the HR Soldiers the necessary procedures and policies and resources they will be using while deployed in a mature theater of operations.
"I worked for a short time as a postal clerk while deployed in 07-08," said Spc. Efrain V. Sanchez, orderly room clerk, 510th Human Resources Company, Special Troops Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade. "This (training) is refreshing and has expanded my knowledge of postal operations,"
"During the first three days of doctrinal training we planted the seeds of knowledge and the (mission readiness exercise) MRX will provide the watering and nurturing of the knowledge as they flower into practical capabilities," said Dennis B. Latimer, training developer/instructor with BoozAllenHamilton (a management and consulting company.)
In the MRX Soldiers put their HR skills to the test with hands on application of the skills provided in the first half of Silver Scimitar.
A mock post office and a military mail terminal with prograde and retrograde operations was set up and run in the Modisett Training Facility. Hunter Hall hosted theater gateway operations that facilitated personnel accountability staff the opportunity to track outbound flights and process Soldiers entering and exiting a simulated theater of operations. Additionally, the Transportation School hosted Soldiers serving in casualty liaison teams (CLT) as they operated a faux-casualty and mortuary affairs operations center thus enabling the HR students the opportunity to experience working a number of casualty reporting scenarios.
"I think the training has effectively taught me and the other Soldiers the whole concept of how casualty response works from the bottom to the top," said Sgt. Humberto Perez, human resources and postal clerk, 300th Human Resources Company (Illinois). "The scenarios showed us how to put our skills into practice," "If a service member becomes a casualty overseas, what we write on these reports is going to the family, so we need to be extremely accurate on these reports."
Honing HR skills was not the only thing the attendees of the second iteration of Silver Scimitar '09 garnered. During the first leg of training much ado was made about those units that will work side-by-side when deployed, thereby laying the foundation of the critical focus on future working relationships.
"Expanding on Silver Scimitar 09's concept of building strong HR relationships while deployed, we took that concept and expounded upon it," said Lt. Col. Christopher Nichols, director of HR and management analysis course, AG School. "We went one step further by making the HR companies responsible from the first day of training for the health, welfare, accountability and, command and control of the platoons and teams that they'll receive and be responsible for when deployed to the CENTCOM Area of Operations, countries such as Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq.
Though the exercise finished successfully, it would not have been possible without the resolute efforts of the 7th Sustainment Brigade in spite of being solidly hammered by a nor'easter the week before Silver Scimitar.
"The (7th Sustainment) Brigade was responsible for all classes of logistic supplies for Silver Scimitar," said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Campbell, support operations (SPO) branch maintenance NCOIC. "The Support Operations team, primarily me, Sgt. Maj. Keith Craig and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Brownfiel were overall responsible as the brigade's task organization and logistical leads," explained Campbell. "We initiated contact with all supporting agencies i.e.: transportation (Department Of Logistics), billeting (Reserve Center), mess (Department Of Logistics) and acted as liaisons between these installation agencies and the FORSCOM personnel Silver Scimitar staff to ensure all requirements were sourced, approved, confirmed and funded. We also ensured individual units and sections were engaged in their respective tasks such as transportation planning for busing the trainees."
Simply put, the 7th Sustainment Brigade successfully facilitated Silver Scimitar on Fort Eustis.
The units who took part in Silver Scimitar at Fort Eustis are scheduled to deploy before next March, hence the critical training supplied by the exercise to better serve these hardworking Soldiers throughout their next mission.
Photos and story by Sgt. R. J. Gilbert, 7th Sustainment Brigade public affairs.
For queries, contact 7th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs at: 757-878-5112 ext. 268.