CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - At four in the morning, the usually quiet Tactical Operations Center for 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division exploded with activity following a single code word called out over the radio.In less than 30 minutes, the Soldiers of Alpha Company were standing in formation, ready to load buses and depart; the unit had been activated to deploy somewhere in the Central Command area of operations on short notice.The Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise tests the unit's ability to deploy on short notice. During this EDRE, the unit practiced the actions required from call-up all the way to wheels-up on a flight."We've done smaller EDREs such as level 1, which push us out to the field," said Capt. Kamal Wheeler, Alpha Co. commander, "but this is the first time we have done one on this scale using an entire company."Following the initial alert, the unit has 30 minutes to form up for accountability. Once they have at least 90 percent of the formation they are dismissed to collect their ready bags and draw weapons and necessary equipment.Meanwhile, the company leadership is briefed on the mission details, while the battalion headquarters personnel provide necessary deployment support."For a company-sized EDRE, it takes the whole battalion plus support from brigade and other elements such as the Air Force," said Maj. Antoine Oliver, the battalion operations officer "If this were a battalion or larger EDRE, the entire base and a significant portion of [U.S. Army Central] would be involved."With gear in hand, the Soldiers begin soldier readiness processing to ensure they are all administratively and medically deployable. Once all of the conditions are met, the unit is considered ready to deploy. They are then transported to the airfield to load their equipment on aircraft."A lot of what we did today was to test the capabilities of our unit to deploy rapidly for ARCENT," Wheeler said. "The goal is to deploy almost immediately from here and push to anywhere in the CENTCOM area of operations. That's what we are trying to do here. We're actually going to test that capability today going out to the airfield, flying out on C-17s."The EDRE not only served to test the unit's capabilities, but also to help reassure partner nations of our commitment and capabilities to the region, said Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Turk, platoon sergeant of 3rd platoon. "Overall, it is helping us to build relationships with our partner nations, and if the need comes, to execute missions rapidly to accomplish the mission within the [Central Command area of responsibility.]"The deployment standard varies depending on equipment packages and locations. Alpha Co., a mechanized infantry unit, exceeded the time standard set for them by more than two-thirds."I couldn't be more proud of my Soldiers for their hard work today," Turk said. This may not be the most exciting aspect of what we do but it is a necessary one to ensure we sustain our readiness.For more information, contact CPT Peter Mrvos, Command Information Officer at Commercial: 011-965-430-5428, or Army Central has been resident in Central Asia and the Middle East for more than 20 years. With forward headquarters in Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan, our presence preserves regional stability and prosperity. U.S. Army Central provides the strategic land power that prevents conflict, shapes the environment and, when necessary, wins the Nation's wars.Patton's Own - Third, Always First!