Jersey City Army Reservists fill critical role at training exercise in Wisconsin
June 23, 2012
FORT MCCOY, Wis. (June 13, 2012) -- Despite the elements, Soldiers of Alpha Company, 533rd Brigade Support Battalion, are determined to get the job done to support Operation Troop Issue Subsistence here at Warrior Exercise.
Alpha Co. for nearly three weeks has operated a warehouse that was a constant buzz of activity as pallets are unloaded, organized for distribution, and repackaged for delivery.
And with more than 4,000 troops in training and situated on FOBs miles apart, the Jersey City unit has operated around the clock to ensure food and water supplies are promptly delivered and received by their valuable customers, Soldiers.
It comes as no surprise that whenever the unit makes deliveries to six mock combat outposts, there is no shortage of smiles on the faces of hundreds of hungry troops. After all, 533rd is about feeding the force, hauling products across the bumpy and dusty roads to ensure Soldiers have the means to stay alive to stay in the fight.
"We receive then we ship supplies out to the troops in the field," said Pfc. Yevgeniy Zalesskiy, an automated logistics specialist with the unit. "The first two years we had help from other units; this is the first year we have done it ourselves."
Zalesskiy and his team are fully aware that their mission is crucial to the welfare of their fellow Soldiers out on the FOBs. These Soldiers have an arduous training schedule and work and live in the field, so they are sure to look forward to a decent meal and some real food, a welcoming break from MREs.
"If you don't send the food out, people are going to starve," said Zalesskiy. "Thanks to us, a lot of people get to eat."
And getting food out to the troops is a team effort. While Zalesskiy and his warehouse crew organize and allocate rations, the truck drivers make sure they are delivered.
"My platoon has already done a thousand miles," said Sgt. Michael Biggs, just three days after arriving at WAREX. "A typical delivery route takes them to five major FOBs in a 22-mile round trip."
"Our unit has a few of these trucks at home, but we rarely get to use them," he said. "We'll probably drive more in a week here than we do in a year back in Jersey City."
Biggs said he is happy to be providing meals to his comrades, and is equally excited by the valuable training WAREX provides for his Soldiers.
The 533rd Brigade Support Battalion is located in Fort Totten, N.Y., and is subordinate to 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command.