By Spc. Liane Schmersahl, 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade JournalistOctober 27, 2016
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Walk, crawl, run -- for Soldiers developing their skills and abilities, it's all about forward progress, and for forward progress, it's all about training.
As the annual Mountain Peak exercise reached a halfway point, the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade's command team, Col. Shawn Schuldt and Command Sgt. Maj. Ann Sydnor, gathered with approximately 40 Soldiers from across the brigade to evaluate and assess how successfully the unit was accomplishing its mission -- how well they were training.
The 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade often has been absent from annual Mountain Peak training. Schuldt, who took command in July, was eager to include his Soldiers in the fray.
"Great organizations seek every opportunity to get better -- this was an opportunity to train and improve our organization," Schuldt said.
"We seized the opportunity. I wanted to use Mountain Peak to train our staff using the same information that was being given to 2nd (Brigade Combat Team)," he added.
The brigade's Mountain Peak after-action review opened with an emphasis on the importance of sustainment functions -- a reminder of why the Muleskinners considered their training equally important.
"The first army to run out of resources loses," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Meadows, the brigade's daytime battle NCO during Mountain Peak, citing historic examples of wars won or lost because of sustainment.
Although the 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, which falls under the sustainment brigade, was originally tasked with providing support for Mountain Peak training, the brigade staff had no opportunity to benefit from the divisionwide training.
That's where Schuldt stepped in, establishing a tactical operations center on Division Hill alongside its subordinate unit, ready and eager to test the brigade's readiness only weeks after the Muleskinner Summit field training exposed areas of weakness.
"The 548th has always had a role in Mountain Peak," said the battalion's Command Sgt. Maj. Amador Medina.
"We provide the transportation, the water, the logistics, the movement control -- we're used as a division asset, and we provide support to the BCTs during these training exercises," he explained.
And although 548th CSSB would normally report to a BCT during field training, with Schuldt's decision for the brigade to enter the field, Medina and his team found themselves working not directly for the units they supplied, but for the brigade at large.
"The brigade headquarters was able to be the interface between the 548th and the division," Schuldt said. "This allowed us to provide them operational and intelligence products as well as synchronize logistics for the division."
When the Muleskinners tested their readiness in a smaller-scale exercise in September, Schuldt and Sydnor found several deficiencies. This time, Schuldt said, the unit was much more prepared.
"I was incredibly impressed with how fast we progressed and in our ability to utilize systems, analyze problems and train the staff," he said.
While Schuldt and Sydnor lauded that welcome progress during the brigade's mid-exercise evaluation, Schuldt emphasized continued growth and sustained readiness. Because the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade is not slated for deployment or a regionally aligned force, it is uncommitted -- a state that Schuldt called "the scariest place to be."
"We don't know when the nation will call," he said. "We are available, which means we have to be ready today."