FORT KNOX, Ky. - The 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) set up their Early Entry Command Post April 21 at the Mission Command Training Center on Fort Knox. The EECP is the 3rd ESC's rapidly deployable Operational Sustainment Headquarters and can provide a wide variety of logistical functions. The EECP setup was part of a multi-phase training event for the 3rd ESC which ended on May 1.

Col. David Waddell, G3 officer-in-charge with the 3rd ESC, described the purpose of the EECP and how it supports the Army in its conversion to a more expeditionary force.

"We are considered by the corps to be the Operational Sustainment Headquarters for the Global Response Force; the XVIII Airborne Corps. If the XVIII Airborne Corps has to go anywhere in the world they would lean on us if needed to launch the EECP to be their Operational Sustainment Headquarters."

Maj. Paul Madden, the chief of operations with the 3rd ESC and the officer-in-charge of the EECP setup, said there were only minor issues during the EECP setup, and overall it went very well. Madden also said the Sustainers worked as a team during the setup.

"The first day was the biggest, but everyone chipped in and helped," said Madden. "The Soldiers worked very well together as a team. We had 30 to 35 people who had set up the EECP before, so that really helped as well."

As part of the training event the 3rd ESC G6 section partnered with the 67th Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade in order to conduct a Communications Exercise (COMEX) and a Digital Exercise (DIGEX). The COMEX and DIGEX allowed the 3rd ESC to test the communications infrastructure needed to support the EECP.

Staff Sgt. Michael O'Rourke, a signal systems support specialist with the 3rd ESC, said the support from the 67th was valuable during the COMMEX/DIGEX.

"The support from the 67th Signal Battalion was very helpful," said O'Rourke. "They provided us with the signal for internet connectivity which assisted us in testing our equipment."

O'Rourke said there was a variety of equipment tested during the COMMEX/DIGEX, and that the only issues his section encountered was a minor one with cabling.

"We tested radio systems and server stacks which provide email, phone systems, laptops and our video teleconference," said O'Rourke. "The biggest hiccup our team encountered was with our cables. The cabling takes the most man hours."

While many Sustainers had some knowledge in setting up the EECP, for some it was their first experience.

Pfc. Cody Sisk, an intelligence analyst with the 3rd ESC, helped set up the EECP for the first time and said he felt the experience was beneficial for him.

"I think the exercise was really good for me to learn how everything comes together," said Sisk. "If you don't have any idea how any of the tents and equipment goes together, being shown how to do it and then being able to do it really helps."

Sisk said having experienced personnel helped, and during the setup he learned the importance of working together.

"It helped having a lot of people out there knowing what they're doing," said Sisk. "I learned the basics of setting up the tents, what needs to be done to get equipment moved and how teamwork has a lot to do with setting up the EECP."

"We need to have the capability to have a presence within the first 96 hours," said Waddell. "The EECP allows us to do just that; to be expeditionary."