Upgrades improve training and morale
April 24, 2012
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Significantly improved ranges, upgraded training facilities and improved living conditions await mobilizing and demobilizing Soldiers at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Miss.
Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, and First Army Division East's operations and training brigades worked hand-in-hand to make the upgrades and improvements to training and quality of life facilities e used by mobilizing and demobilizing Soldiers.
"We have made significant upgrades all over Camp Shelby," said Master Sgt. Timothy Plunk noncommissioned officer in charge of Camp Shelby Department of Public Works."For the Soldiers, the most notable would be probably be air in the barracks and repaving all of the roads."
Within the last year Camp Shelby opened the new Post Exchange, Military Clothing and Sales and the barracks facility. Currently, renovations are also taking place at the post gym and the All Ranks Club.
"I am glad they have a PX that is finally large enough to accommodate the number of mobilizing Soldiers that come through here," said Sgt. Kirk Kinamon an ammunition specialist with the 177th Armored Brigade. "The new building is great, and they keep it well stocked."
To enhance the training for mobilizing units they have added two live fire shoot houses, upgraded ranges not only for small arms training, but also lanes for armored vehicles to maneuver and fire, according to Eddie Middleton, Camp Shelby Department of Public Works. ,
"We are able now to house entire units at the Combat Operation Locations," said Middleton."They are able to train in an environment similar to where they will be deployed."
With the focus now being on the Afghanistan war front, one of the most notable changes is the simulated villages of Trebil and Slayer.
"They are the first at Camp Shelby that replicate what service members will see on ground in Afghanistan," said Maj. Jill Moss, 177th Armored Brigade.
Capt. Enrique Loy, 177th AR Bde., was involved with the village upgrade project from its conception.
"We wanted to improve the villages that would create the biggest influence on the quality of training available to Soldiers," said Loy. "These two villages were the ones picked by the trainer/mentors as their most useful villages that would really affect the quality of training available."
The village upgrades were a joint effort between First Army Division East, the 177th Armored Brigade, the 158th Infantry Brigade and Camp Shelby Department of Public Works. Lt. Col. Rex McCullough, 177th AR Bde., not only assisted in the improvements, but has enjoyed the benefits. McCullough recently completed training at Camp Shelby in anticipation of a deployment as a Security Force Assistance Team member.
"The villages we have been training in are outstanding," said McCullough. "It is exactly what Soldiers will see overseas and that will benefit the Soldiers greatly, especially those heading over on their first deployment."
"The mindset of a Soldier is altered when you are no longer looking at a shipping container, instead you feel as if you are standing in the middle of a village in Afghanistan. The change in appearance of the villages is monumental which is only going to help our trainers give Soldiers the best quality training available in the Army," explained Loy.
First Army Division East, headquartered at Fort Meade, Md., mobilizes, trains, validates, deploys and demobilizes Reserve Component troops. In 2011, the division has mobilized more than 19,500 service members in support of overseas contingency operations worldwide.