MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Army Reserve leaders highlighted combat and support capabilities for federal congressional staff members during a briefing and facilities tour Dec. 9 at the Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose Armed Forces Reserve Center here.

Maj. Gen. Troy D. Kok, commanding general of the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command, hosted the event in order to help the congressional members understand the Army Reserve's unique roles and capabilities, to include support to civil authorities in response to natural disasters.

"The force that we have in this room is just a little piece of what our armed forces have to offer," said Kok to the congressional staff members gathered for the briefing. "We are the greatest military force on the face of this earth, but we've got to be very concerned about protecting that because it can erode."

Kok and his staff briefed Army Reserve capabilities to congressional staff members representing U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy, and U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Courtney, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty. The brief was followed by a tour of the training center and its accompanying maintenance facility.

"The reason why we in the Army Reserve get together with members of Congress is to educate and inform them and build relationships, so that when we're out in their communities they know who we are and what we represent," explained Col. Richard Erenbaum, 99th RSC congressional legislative liaison. "We can impart the ideas that are important to the Chief, Army Reserve to those elected members so that they can understand what the Army Reserve is about and how we contribute to the community."

The 99th Regional Support Command provides facilities, programs and services to Army Reserve Soldiers, civilians and families in the northeast region stretching from Maine to Virginia in order to support Soldier and unit readiness and sustain the all-volunteer force.

"The interaction between us and the members of Congress and their staffs is important because they appropriate the funds and resources needed for our Army to win and prosper in the current threat environment in which we operate," Erenbaum said.