By Maj. Stephen Messenger, 3-356th Logistics Support Battalion, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Division WestApril 5, 2013
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. -- Soldiers from the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade's California-based 3-356th Logistics Support Battalion, the "Wild Stallions," are anything but tame when it comes to supporting major training exercises.
They know that no exercise would be successful without personnel, equipment and other logistical services. So, as part of their annual training last month, the battalion rode in and laid the logistics support framework for the Army Reserve's annual Warrior Exercise and Combat Service Training Exercise held here March 9 through April 26.
"This was a great opportunity for us. Typically, our Soldiers do individual annual training at Fort Bliss (Texas) to support our brigade," said Lt. Col. Jay Guevarra, 3-356th Logistics Support Battalion commander. "Coming together for this mission, we were able to conduct our core mission-essential tasks and command functions with staff. We created exponential growth for the unit with skill sets we haven't been able to utilize before. Everyone was highly motivated and recharged from the event."
This was the first time since before 9/11 the battalion has participated in the 91st Training Division's WAREX, which provides realistic training to more than 3,500 Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors to prepare them for deployments.
This was also the first time in more than 10 years the 3-356th did annual training as a unit.
As part of its mission, the 3-356th provided operational control support to another Division West unit, the 189th Infantry Brigade, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. With 3-356th Soldiers filling the critical roles of trainer/mentor and effects/enabler teams, the 189th could maneuver freely across the battlefield during the exercise.
The 3-356th also provided logistics, maintenance and transportation support to all units participating in the exercises. During their two-week training, the battalion performed more than 130 logistics missions, logging more than 50 transportation missions totaling nearly 5,300 miles, and transporting more than 320 Soldiers. Battalion Soldiers also completed nearly 170 light-wheeled vehicle work orders, provided more than 16,300 Meals Ready to Eat and almost four tons of ice, and issued more than 1,500 gallons of fuel.
The unit maintained a 97 percent operational ready rate for more than 160 pieces of equipment, with an average turn-around time of less than three hours. The 3-356th also provided on-call capability for vehicle recovery in the training area.
Command Sgt. Maj. David Adams, the battalion's senior enlisted advisor, is proud of the unit's success.
"This was our best collective training event to date. We developed technical proficiency both individually and as a team," Adams said. "The 'Wild Stallions' are already planning to support the exercise next year. Our vision is that, when the reserve component thinks of the WAREX and CSTX and Fort Hunter Liggett, they think of the 3-356 LSB and the outstanding logistics support we provide."
Although the 3-356th has turned over responsibility to another logistics support battalion, the unit's mission has not ended.
For the next two months, the battalion will serves as continuity for the two logistics support battalions that assumed its mission in the exercises. Later this month, two detachments from the 3-356th are scheduled to arrive for their annual training, during which they will finish the logistics exercise support by ensuring all Soldiers return to the airport and all vehicles remain operational.