SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Despite the hot July weather, the 40th Composite Supply Company, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 25th Sustainment Brigade, spent July 10-14, at East Range, Schofield Barracks, conducting a base defense field exercise. The week long exercise was designed to hone these Sustainer's skills at defending themselves while performing fuel resupply, laundry, shower, and water purification operations.

"This is the foundation of what we do," said Chief Warrant Officer Tracey Napper, a Petroleum System technologist, with the 40th Composite Supply Company. "Before our military occupation specialty (MOS) we are Soldiers first. I think one of the primary purposes of being a Soldier is being able to protect yourself and those around you."

During the course of this five day exercise the 40th CSC tested their skills on base defense, reacting to troop and vehicle borne threats, chemical warfare defense, and reflexive fire training. The purpose of these tasks is to ensure that these Soldiers can efficiently deter any hostile action while sustaining the fight in an austere environment.

"Whenever you are down range you never know what might happen," said Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Harris, the motor sergeant for 40th Composite Supply Company. "So you have to prepare Soldiers for the worst and hope for the best."

Soldiers were attacked with multiple different assets at once in order to keep them sharp and teach them to deal with threats under pressure. One particular instance had Sustainers dealing with not only a chemical attack, but a breach in their defense perimeter. With guidance and experience from senior leaders in the formation each attack was repelled.

"With any and all missions that you do, communication can be a deal breaker," said Napper. "We have been focusing on communication for our crew served weapons on the perimeter defense."

While communication was a priority focus of the perimeter defense, Sustainers were also trained on reflexive fire. Reflexive fire is a technique used in rifle marksmanship that teaches Soldiers to fire from a variety of different positions and focus on muzzle control. The mastery of reflexive fire greatly improved 40th CSC's ability to conduct base defense operations.

After five consecutive days of hard training these Sustainers have proved their ability to deal with any threat while conducting their vital mission of sustaining the fight.