By Sgt. Marcie C. Wright, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Division West Public AffairsSeptember 3, 2013
FORT BLISS, Texas (Sept. 3, 2013) -- The Continental U.S. Replacement Center is now fully operational at Fort Bliss, processing about 150 war fighters per weekly cycle, with an expected increase to more than 400.
The first individuals arrived for pre-deployment training at the Continental U.S. Replacement Center, or CRC, at Fort Bliss, Texas, Aug. 9, 2013.
This CRC is a combination of three entities: one was a training site at Fort Benning, Ga., where Department of Defense civilians and other military services were trained; another from Camp Atterbury, Ind., where support staff received their training; and the other was located in Virginia, where training for the Army Corps of Engineers specialties was handled.
"When you consolidate things to one location you can provide better resources and use those resources for multiple things," said 1st Sgt. Dusty Ray Alexander, acting senior enlisted adviser of the 3rd Battalion, 398th Regiment.
For instance, training lanes are already in existence due to the high operational tempo of Army Reserve and National Guard troops who rotate through as deploying units. This is something Alexander called a "plus factor."
Under the direction of the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, the CRC features instruction from some of the top trainers at Fort Bliss. The 3rd Battalion, 398th Regiment -- a unit of mobilized Soldiers, many who have served as drill sergeants -- are involved in the training.
"The CRC's primary mission is, we mobilize individuals who are headed to one of 38 theaters of operation, different countries and different commands," said Alexander. "We also focus on redeployers, ensuring they have a smooth transition back to their previous jobs."
Having reservists tackle this mission means a variety of skill sets, both civilian and military, is available to share with those being trained and help battalion operations run smoothly, Alexander said.
"It just gives us more expertise; it makes us more diverse," said Alexander, who learned about computer networking and switches from one of his Soldiers who doubles as a computer engineer in the civilian sector.