By Sgt. Maj. Terry Anderson, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public AffairsMarch 4, 2009
CAMP ZAMA, JAPAN -- Long before the main body flights containing hundreds of 8th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) Soldiers arrived at Narita Airport in Tokyo, Sgt. Kensley Bell was shopping for supplies, stocking toiletries, and setting up cots.
"It was actually harder to get set up here than it was in Iraq," Bell said. "In Iraq, we had an established FOB (forward operating base) and here it was like starting from scratch."
Bell, a supply sergeant, and 8 other officers, noncommissioned officers, and Soldiers from the 8th TSC Special Troops Battalion and Headquarters staff arrived at Camp Zama more than a week before the main body of troops. They picked up Soldiers from the airport and set up billeting arrangements at Camp Zama for more than 150 Soldiers and Civilians taking part in the command post exercise (CPX).
"Our priorities were focused on taking care of our Soldiers," said Lt. Col. Edward Burke, commander, 8th Special Troops Battalion. "U.S. Army, Garrison Japan was very capable and they helped us out tremendously."
The 8th TSC is the command responsible for logistics sustainment in the Pacific Theater, providing beans, bullets, military police, and engineer support across 11 time zones. The CPX at Camp Zama is one of a series of validation exercises that tests the capabilities of the 8th TSC\'s main command post , located at Fort Shafter, and the forward command post, located at Camp Zama.
A large group of Soldiers arrived from Hawaii on Mar. 3, and were welcomed by a late winter snowfall in Tokyo. Preparing Camp Zama for the influx of Soldiers was not an easy task, but one that Bell and the Soldiers of the 8th STB were well trained for.
"We got our mission and we made it happen," Bell said. "Most of all it was teamwork that made it successful."
Burke added that his Soldiers will continue to monitor personnel and life support issues and ensure that all Soldiers are taken care of through the end of the exercise, which wraps up Mar. 20.
"We'll make sure that we get everyone back to the airport, then we'll step off and close a successful chapter in the history of the 8th TSC," he said.