By Season Osterfeld, Fort Riley Public AffairsFebruary 16, 2017
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- "Fort Riley is a great place to train and that word is getting out," said Dave Dawson, chief of mobilization and reserve support branch, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. "We're getting a lot of new units that are coming here to see what Fort Riley has to offer."
Dawson and Orlando Perez, training coordinator, at the Mobilization and Reserve Support Branch work together to assist Soldiers in reserve component units, such as the National Guard, and help active-duty units from other installations schedule and complete training at Fort Riley or prepare for mobilization.
"We are a one-stop shop for any off-post RC units that want to come to Fort Riley to train or if they're being mobilized, we're here to help them as well," Dawson said. "We also assist any off-post active components units that want to come to Fort Riley and train."
On average, Dawson and Perez assist about 100 units a year train at or mobilize from Fort Riley. In 2016, they helped nearly 26,000 Soldiers train and use Fort Riley facilities.
This year they have been directed by Fort Riley and 1st Infantry Division commanders to increase that number to 30,000, Dawson said.
Most units come from across Kansas to use the ranges and facilities available here. However, it is not uncommon for units from Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma to also come, he said. In 2016, Dawson said they also had a unit come from Illinois.
"We have a full suite of ranges," Dawson said. "They can do anything they want here … We can do anything for the units and the guys that run the ranges up there are super at assisting them at whatever their training scenario is, they can get it done."
When a unit is interested in training here, Perez assists them in arranging all of their requests. He is responsible for seeing the ranges needed are scheduled, as well as dining facility needs, transportation motor pool vehicle requests, barracks, motor pool space, administrative space and more, Dawson said.
"I receive requests from all over and I do just about everything really," Perez said. "I do the training piece, the ranges, the areas, DFAC requests, TMP requests, field requests, schools -- we are the central, one stop shop for training."
To accomplish their jobs, Dawson and Perez work with staff of the Directorate of Plans, Transportation, Mobilization and Security, the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Logistics Readiness Center and more.
To spread the word about the training opportunities here, Dawson and Perez attend conferences on a regular basis and communicate to unit representatives and commanders what is available at Fort Riley. They also schedule training periods on site at the conferences.
"One ID leadership is super at supporting them if they want to come in and they get great support out of the division, great support out of the DPTMS and we'll do whatever we can to get them in here," Dawson said. "I also go to events, such as March 1st and 2nd this year, I'm going to the Kansas National Guard Training Conference … to sit down and talk to all the units about when we have space here. We try to start scheduling their events for FY18 (Fiscal Year 2018)."
Encouraging other units to train at Fort Riley has benefits for the installation community as a whole, Dawson said.
"There's a lot of advantages," he said. "It gives throughput at the ranges. It adds headcount at the DFACs and that gives us a big help to keep the DFACs going. I think it raises our stature across the Army."
Dawson began as a mobilization officer on post in 2004. That same year, the mobilization division was merged with the reserve component support division. Dawson then took over the reserve component training as well, he said.
"It's really a very rewarding job," Dawson said. "You get to really assist Soldiers on a daily basis and it's just great to be able to do that. It's great to be able to provide what we do provide to the RC Soldiers."