GABON, AFRICA-A team of Soldiers from the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command went to Gabon, Africa to take part in Judicious Activation 17. A 10 day exercise to test their ability to deploy to an austere environment and set up an Early Entry Command Post that can coordinate logistic support to the U.S. Army Africa Command mission.
Maj. Benjamin Tumlinson, G7 Exercises Deputy U.S. Army Africa and lead planner for Judicious Activation 17, stated "Judicious Activation is a U.S. Army Africa Command exercise executed by USARAF designed to test and build the capacity for contingency response in the AFRICOM area of operations."
The 13th ESC worked with elements of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, 35th Signal Brigade, 405th Army Field Support Brigade, 414th Contracting Support Brigade and the 79th Theater Sustainment Command throughout the exercise.
The 13th ESC had two roles in the exercise. One was to activate a Cooperative Security Location in Gabon in support of the U.S. Embassy to be able expedite embassy personnel to a secure location during a non-combatant evacuation
operation. The second was for a senior logistics and sustainment headquarters to deploy to Gabon and establish a Joint Operations Area during potential crisis where humanitarian assistance or disaster relief is needed.
Brig. Gen. Douglas McBride Jr., the 13th ESC Commander, said. "Our headquarters job was to access the logistic network in Gabon to test our ability to provide joint logistics, critical supplies and services if needed."
The exercise allowed for the 13th ESC to test the capabilities of their EECP on a CSL allowing the unit to operate in a secure location for an extended period of time.
Capt. Peter Anderson, 13th ESC Battle Captain, said "We were sent over here in support of USARAF to activate the CSL and validate that we could sustain ourselves within this footprint while exercising sustainment operations."
The team prepared for months at Fort Hood, Texas executing all of the pre-deployment requirements including Soldier Readiness Processing and conducting an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.
"We built it. We resourced it. We tested it. This was the final validation piece for the EECP." McBride said. "Deploying to another continent into an austere environment that we have not been to before and to occupy, establish, defend and execute mission command."
Throughout the exercise Alpha Company, 1/327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division trained with Gabonese Soldiers. Joint training opportunities like Judicious Activation strengthen our relationships with foreign militaries.
McBride said, "This kind of peacetime exercise is a new concept for the U.S. Army AFRICOM and aims to create synergy with partners in places like Gabon."
This was the first time the 13th ESC has executed a mission like this. The unit did not have EECP capabilities when McBride took command.
"I think they did well." McBride said. "I saw a lot of growth in the team and across the staff sections. They exceeded my expectations. There were some challenges up front. The fog and friction of going into an austere and immature theater with no notice or short notice is real. This team was able to fight their way through the friction points and get the mission done."