By 1st Lt. Eugene T. MolissoJanuary 29, 2018
Many people and organizations remembered this past December 7th, the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, in different ways. For some Army units, it was all about readiness. The Forward Support Company (FSC) of the 84th Engineer Battalion decided the iconic date was a fitting choice to alert its personnel in the early morning hours on Oahu and conduct a deployment readiness exercise (DRE). At the helm of the Army's priorities is readiness, and the FSC sought to test its systems and equipment for the possibility of future calls -- real or simulated.
In order to nest the FSC's readiness priorities set by the 84th Engineer Battalion, the FSC Commander, Capt. Nicholas Caito decided it was necessary to focus quarterly training around deployment activities. Setting the conditions for the DRE training back in August 2017, the FSC planned and executed specific Sergeant's Time Training events throughout the quarter to ensure understanding reached all Soldier training levels for tasks such as packing lists, blocking and bracing, hazardous material (HAZMAT) certification, load plans and diagrams, convoy operations, and deployment processing activities. Although the FSC leadership knew about the upcoming DRE, the rest of the unit was left unaware to get the full value out of conducting an alert and training in a realistic, unexpected manner.
"We wanted to make the best combination of meeting the regulatory requirements of a DRE and also training toward our most relevant deployment readiness Mission Essential Tasks," said Caito.
"Despite most of the installation's movement resources and subject matter experts being tied up for a 25th Infantry Division Joint Readiness Training Center movement, we were still able to execute a Level II DRE and show our higher headquarters the FSC is ready to support and project power with little notice," he continued.
In the weeks leading up to the exercise, one of FSC's unit movement officers (UMO), Sgt. 1st Class Edward Thomas, briefed a deployment operation order with a scenario to the unit. This initiated movement among the platoons and sections to prepare Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) packets, equipment packets for deployment facility processing, and compile packing lists, manifests, and load plans.
Staff Sgt. Danvas Rogoncho, the FSC's primary UMO, took charge in making a unit deployment list (UDL) based on the commander's priorities, a staging plan, a route plan to the sea port of embarkation (SPOE) and an execution timeline including all readiness tasks that needed to be completed before the roll-out.
"A Level I DRE is easy for a logistics unit like ours. We wanted to show every other unit that the FSC can do something more," said Rogoncho.
On the morning of the 76th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks, Soldiers of the FSC mustered for the start of the DRE with a 100% accountability alert and conducted Level I SRP with the help from the Battalion's S1 section. Simultaneously, the UMO validated certificates and appointment orders, identified load teams, and ensured its OEL in TC-AIMS II was updated. While these collective activities completed the requirements for a Level I DRE in accordance with Army Regulation 525-93, the FSC had its sights on completing Level II.
Already having their equipment document packets prepared, manifests accurate, and staging plan set, the FSC conducted a mock deployment facility equipment processing event assisted by the battalion maintenance team. 1st Lt. Reed Honken, the distribution platoon leader, gave a convoy brief and prepared the unit to move toward Waipio Point, the SPOE traditionally used by Army watercraft like the 8th Theater Sustainment Command's fleet of logistic support vessels (LSVs).
"LSVs are extremely useful and versatile Army watercraft that we utilize often for inter-island travel. The LSVs can also transport cargo to the mainland and throughout the Pacific, so remaining aware of its capabilities and procedures for loading the vessels are very important and realistic if our unit ever has to move vehicles anywhere," said Honken.
As the culminating event for the quarter, the DRE was a successful training event which fostered a sense of realistic urgency and readiness to enable engineer capabilities throughout the region. Supporting the Army's top priority of readiness, the event ensured Soldiers have the training they need to deploy, fight and win across the entire spectrum of conflict.