The 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion was augmented with the Army Reserve and National Guard units at the Joint Readiness Training Center in support of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Polk, Louisiana recently.
The training allows the 35th CSSB to integrate into the Army's Total Force Policy (ATFP) initiative for training, manning, equipping, leading and maintaining the vital readiness for key active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve units.
"The initiative facilitates readiness and strategic depth across components," Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, Chief of Army Reserve said March 22, when the Army first announced this Total Army Force initiative. "These units will train, build readiness, and ultimately fight as One Army."
The 35th CSSB's ability to integrate with the ATFP provides a predictable, recurring and sustainable force while preparing for deployments as a multicomponent expeditionary force.
"As a logistics unit, we have a special skill set that supports the fight and sustains the warfighter," said 1st Lt. Morgan Carter, battle captain, 35th CSSB. "Being able to train in a fast paced environment, such as this exercise, is a rare opportunity so I'm very glad we have the chance to develop, train and learn."
A rotation at the JRTC forces Soldiers to perform their Mission Occupational Specialty in a joint environment while seeking more responsibility, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Rosario, senior enlisted advisor, 35th CSSB, 10th Support Group.
Throughout the exercise, 35th CSSB worked with Active, Guard and Reserve components to assist in scenarios such as supplying a unit with food, water and supplies; responding to a Sexual Harassment/ Assault report; engaging local leaders about issues in their area of operations; reacting to convoys attacks and assisting casualties during an operation.
"This really taught me how important communication is within the staff," said Pfc. Steven Foster, information specialist, 35th CSSB. "Being the radio telephone operator in this exercise is a huge responsibility and without communication between the staff operations will fail."
Foster, a native of Akron, Ohio, has participated in other exercises and understands the responsibility the unit has in its overall mission and the exercise's intent.
Furthermore, the staff learned how crucial communication is within the planning process and the importance of coordination within staff sections to complete a mission.
"I think because of this exercise the unit is becoming a better team, we are learning to communicate more effectively, helping each other gather information and more importantly working together as a team," said Foster.
"Soldiers have done a great job executing their basic skills and responsibilities during this rotation," said Lt. Col. Jack Shields, commander, 35th CSSB. "This training environment is hard to replicate on mainland Japan, so we are taking advantage to enhance our efficiency in all aspects of our operational support requirements."
The opportunity to enhance the effectiveness in the ATFP concept as the only active duty Army Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Japan is critical to the overall success of the 10th Support Group and their mission in the Indo-Asia Pacific Region.
"We must ensure that throughout every training opportunity, we continue to finish the mission strong and not be complacent in our planning and executing redeployment," said Shields. "This is a wakeup call to those who got use to our operational environment back in Japan," he added. "At a moment's notice we can be called upon to provide support for humanitarian disaster or support a Brigade Combat team in a contingency operation. These Soldiers have definitely grown, both professionally and personally and will return a better prepared and trained Soldier."
Editor's note: Information from Mr. Paul Boyce, FORSCOM, Total Army Force Leaders plan three-year "Associated Units" Pilot was used in this article.