Sustainers test readiness with tactical operations exercise
September 2, 2010
FORT KNOX, Ky (Aug. 30, 2010) - Fort Knox's 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) held a Tactical Operations Center Exercise on Fort Knox 23-26 Aug.
The purpose of the TOCEX was to test the 3d ESC's readiness for a short-notice deployment, like the one the unit dealt with when it went to Haiti earlier this year.
The 3d ESC leadership designated approximately 70 of its Soldiers to be the first echelon of the unit to deploy in support of any number of future missions. These Soldiers include senior and junior officers, warrant officers and NCOs, from across the staff of the 3d ESC.
Initially, the small group of Soldiers set up a large Joint Operations Center in a field on Eisenhower Avenue. The Soldiers tested for adequate electrical power, lighting, air conditioning and communications required for a fully functional JOC.
"We had our goals that we wanted to accomplish each day and we surpassed those goals every day...ahead of schedule," said Master Sgt. James Stanley, the non-commissioned officer in charge for the TOCEX.
Another key part of setting up the JOC was establishing voice and e-mail communications with the headquarters. Although the actual ESC headquarters was hundreds of yards away, the exercise tested the unit's ability to deploy to an austere environment with everything they need to perform their logistics mission.
"It gave us an opportunity to take lessons learned from Haiti and our progressive training strategy and progress just a little bit further, as we develop our ability to deploy under contingency operations," said Atlanta, Ga. native Col. Jarrold Reeves, ESC deputy commander and officer in charge for the TOCEX.
With laptop computers set up on a folding tables, the exercise participants engaged in battle drills designed to let each of the staff sections practice their role in a variety of scenarios that could affect the 3d ESC on a deployment.
"It was a big success in, one, identifying the personnel and equipment packages, and, two, setting them up and exercising them here at Fort Knox. Great operation," said Reeves.
Later in the week, the rest of the unit set up another large tent and several smaller work tents in the same field, as a way of testing the remaining Soldiers' ability to deploy if a second wave of 3d ESC Soldiers became necessary in a given operation.
For those 3d ESC Soldiers who deployed to Haiti with the unit in January and February, setting up these tents served as a refresher course in operating in an austere environment. For those Soldiers who joined the unit more recently, the TOCEX was a completely new experience.
"Very good learning experience. Never seen any of this stuff before I come here. Setting it up...taking it down, folding it up, seeing how things operate while it's set up," said Pvt. 1st Class Daniel Barker, a native of Quincy, Ill. and a mechanic with the 3d ESC.
The most immediate impact of this training is it prepared the unit to deploy to Fort Bragg, N.C. in September to participate in a Joint Forced Entry Exercise.
"I know I'll be able to do the job down there, after this week," said Barker.
According to Reeves, the goal of both the TOCEX and the JFEX are to practice and refine the unit's ability to deploy and provide command and control over subordinate logistics units in any situation.
Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Dave McClain, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs. For queries, contact 3d Sustainment Command Public Affairs at (502) 624-8601. For high-resolution photos and stories by the 3d Sustainment Command, please contact the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System at (678) 421-6612 or access them online at http://www.dvidshub.net/units/3sce.