Fort Lee Quartermasters hone tactical skills during field exercise
Soldiers from the 49th Quartermaster Group's 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion receive instruction on counter-IED operations during a recent tactical exercise. (U.S. Army photo 1st Lt. Keronica Richardson)

FORT LEE, Va. (Sept. 20, 2010) - About two-hundred and eighteen Soldiers from the 49th Quartermaster Group and 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion here participated in a multi-faceted Tactical Operations Center Exercise September 12-17 at Fort A.P. Hill in northeastern Virginia.

The purpose of the TOCEX was to prepare the 530th Headquarters for a deployment and allow the 49th Group to rehearse its command and control capabilities. In the near future, it will become the command element for 7th Sustainment Brigade units.

An advance party consisting of senior and junior officers, warrants and noncommissioned officers from a variety of 49th Group staff sections was the first to hit the ground at A.P. Hill. These Soldiers were responsible for the initial setup - pitching the tents that would serve as the tactical operations center, testing email connectivity and establishing Video Teleconference (VTC) and Secret Internet Protocol Router capabilities (SIPR).

"Setting up communications in the field can be a challenging event; however we were able to successfully set up communications and conduct several VTC and communicate with the rear elements. The 63rd Signal Battalion Joint Network Node team played a vital role in our success as well. They were on ground setting up and assisting with no hesitation" Said Cpt Crosby, 49th Group S6.

Also vital to the initial setup was the field feeding site. Although, a dining facility was less than 50 feet away from the training area, the Soldiers put a Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT) into operation to test the unit's ability to operate in an austere environment.

"I found this training fun, because most Soldiers don't know how the cooks maintain field sanitation or operate out of a MKT. Yet, when it was time to serve the meals they were always ready and waiting to receive good chow, said, SGT Pabon, 530th,CSSB, 506th 92 G.

All of the other elements of a true field training exercise - from chemical toilets and tent operations to buzzing mosquitoes and steamy temperatures - were also experienced by the troops, but none of those things prevented them from performing everything they would do in a normal garrison environment, including daily physical training and administrative work.

"This training exercise gave the operations section an opportunity to improve those skills needed to become proficient in battle drills as well as collective tasks. Now as we go into a new fiscal year we have an excellent snapshot of how operations in a tactical environment can be executed successfully and we will only get better by during subsequent exercises." Said, Master Sgt Thomas, 49th Group S3 NCOIC.

Soldiers who were not part of the Tactical Operations Center staff focused on battle drills throughout the event. The 530th troops worked through the procedures for identifying Improvised Explosive Devices, a very real and deadly threat they'll face during their upcoming deployment. The Soldiers also focused on basic riffle marksmanship, and they had an opportunity to qualify on their assigned weapons.

Spec. Gibson of 530th CSSB , Admin clerk said, "We were taught the basic standards of identifying Improvised Explosive Devices, because many of the new troops had never been threw the IED lanes before. Everyone was actively engage and eager to participate in the scenario driven exercises.

As the training drew to a close on Friday, organization leaders gave the operation a big stamp of success. The headquarters elements proved their ability to conduct staff operations and provide professional administrative support in a field environment, and the 530th gained valuable experience that should serve the unit well during its upcoming deployment.

"One of the many things I enjoyed mostly about this exercise is that every level of leadership from private to Colonel was actively engaged in training and focused a great deal mentorship. Because of the strong mentorship, we were able to successfully operate and set up a Tactical Operation Center in a limited amount of time, get retrained on Improvise Explosive Devices and have a large portion of Soldiers qualify on their weapons. The willingness and the determination that I saw in every Solider during this exercise is what all Soldiers and leaders should have at all times to make anything and every mission possible." CSM Sims, 49th CSM.

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Story by 1st Lt. Keronica Richardson, 49th Quartermaster Group public affairs.
For queries, 49th Quartermaster Group public affairs at: (804) 734-7131.

Page last updated Tue September 21st, 2010 at 13:19