ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. (July 15, 2013) -- The Army Sustainment Command recently conducted a three-week pre-deployment training session for about 50 commissioned and noncommissioned officers heading overseas to fill positions in its brigades in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Ranging from sergeant to lieutenant colonel, the Soldiers from all corners of the country gathered in the Quad Cities, June 9-30, for intense training to ensure they are properly prepared to thrive in a combat environment.

Most of the Soldiers belong to the Army Sustainment Command-Army Reserve Element, or ASC-ARE, headquartered here. The unit is commanded by Col. Vincent Barker. In addition to Rock Island Arsenal, ASC-ARE Soldiers drill at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Rounding out the contingent were Army Reserve volunteers from a variety of units nationwide.

"Soldiers are brought to Rock Island and provided ASC-specific training to prepare them for the mission of supporting the ASC while deployed," said Sgt. 1st Class John Wattenberg, pre-deployment training NCO, ASC Training & Programs Division. "It is nice to see them come together as a team here even though they will scatter to the four winds to fill brigade and battalion staff positions."

Each year, ASC trains ASC-ARE members and Reserve volunteers, who primarily serve in logistics and administrative support positions, to fill positions with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade in Afghanistan, and the 402nd ASFB, headquartered in Kuwait.

While in the Quad Cities, the group conducted some of its training at a hotel in Davenport, Iowa, which provided a convenient training environment with classrooms and lodging at one location.

Students participated in combat lifesaver training, contracting officer representative training, theater-specific individual readiness training, warrior task training and more. In addition, they were familiarized with the areas to which they will be deploying.

More intense training sessions were held here and elsewhere in the Quad Cities. The Soldiers conducted an educational six-mile road march on Arsenal Island, learning about the island's unique past. In addition, they conducted weapons familiarization at the East Moline Correctional Facility firing range in East Moline, Ill.

"The training was awesome. Sergeant Major (Robert) Bell and Sergeant First Class (John) Wattenberg made us feel very welcome," said Capt. Bonnie Owens who lives in Suffolk, Va., but drills with the ASC-ARE here. "We are headed to (Fort) Benning confident and comfortable thanks to the training we received here."

Owens anticipates going to the Operations Section of the 401st AFSB.

The group was released June 30, for a quick break during the Independence Day holiday, with orders to report to the CONUS (Continental Unites States) Replacement Center, known as CRC, at Fort Benning, Ga., July 5, for additional training prior to their final departure overseas.

"Even though we represented a lot of different ranks, everyone worked very well together," said Sgt. 1st Class Terri Fowler, who lives in Spokane, Wash., and drills at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "Everyone was respectful of one another and helped each other out. I like the fact that we got all of our certifications completed here. That will make things much easier for us at the CRC."

The ASC-ARE is the current form of a 2002 concept, which was to provide reserve-component support to the ASC.

The organization has changed names and structure since its inception, but the mission has always been to support the Army's global operational sustainment mission.

The Multi-Functional Support Command, or MFSC, stood up in December 2002. The unit was comprised of 56 positions that were transferred from the deactivated 19th Theater Army Area Command. The original mission concept was for the MFSC to augment the Global Logistics Information Center and use its Soldiers in global logistics exercises.

The MFSC also sent Soldiers to the Joint Readiness Training Center to evaluate the number of personnel, capabilities and proposed composition for the conceptual Brigade Logistics Support Team that would eventually be embedded in brigade combat teams.

In November 2004, the MFSC was alerted to mobilize and augment operations here and in Southwest Asia. In February 2005, 28 Soldiers were mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Soldiers were sent here, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. The MFSC sent personnel to fill battle roster positions in the staff offices as well as battalion executive officers, sergeants major, and command sergeants major in the 401st and 402nd AFSBs.

In 2006, the AFSC transitioned into the ASC, but the MFSC remained to provide reserve component support to the active forces. The MFSC was deactivated and the ASC-ARE was activated during a ceremony held here, Sept. 15, 2009.

The ASC-ARE falls under the Army Reserve Sustainment Command, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. The ASC-ARE continues to deploy Soldiers in support of the ASC by rotating them into Southwest Asia anually. When the ASC-ARE Soldiers are not deployed overseas they work with the Command Operations Information Center and support CONUS missions.

According to Wattenberg, this is the largest contingent of ASC-ARE and Reserve volunteer Soldiers trained by ASC for deployment.