By Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth BreckenkampFebruary 9, 2018
When U.S. Army Soldiers deploy, there's more to getting ready than simply packing bags and cutting orders. From family care plans and financial paperwork, to issuing equipment and protective gear, the staff at the Continental United States Replacement Center help prepare all those who are deploying.
The Transfer of Authority ceremony conducted here on Dec. 1, 2017, signified handing over CONUS Replacement Center operations from the outgoing 1st Battalion, 304th Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 98th Training Division, 108th Training Command to the incoming 7th Personnel Service Battalion, 95th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 94th Training Division, 80th Training Command.
Until 2013, deploying Soldiers and civilians were sent to various locations throughout the nation to accomplish this massive pre-deployment preparation and training. Seeing a need to streamline these processes in one central location, the Army created the CRC headquartered here. It's a one-stop shop for all Army components - Active, Reserve, and National Guard - plus Department of Defense civilians and contractors deploying and re-deploying.
The CRC's mission is to receive, process, equip, and conduct Theater Specific Individual Requirements Training for all Army deployments to and redeployments from theaters of operations in support of overseas contingency operations. In some cases, they prepare units to deploy, but the bulk of the center's operations prepares and transitions individuals.
Every 12 months, the CRC rotates a new battalion to take charge of its operations. Lt. Col. Michael Child, commander of the outgoing battalion, was mobilized with his unit a year ago. He and his unit served as the CRC 5. Child passed on the responsibilities at the TOA ceremony to Lt. Col. Adrian Jackson, the incoming commander of the new CRC 6.
"It's similar to a changing of responsibility," said Child. "During our operations, we have prepared and deployed more than 18,000 personnel. The people who made up CRC 5 were incredibly adaptable and flexible to provide ready and trained military and civilians for missions around the world."
Soldiers came from brigades throughout the 94th TD, with a few from outside the 94th, to make up the incoming CRC 6. They removed their 94th unit patch and replaced it with the First Army Division West patch. Of these 115 Soldiers, two deployed to Kuwait, while the rest of them are staying here to support CRC operations over the next 12 months.
As executive officer of the CRC, Maj. Jason Cornett recently came on board to establish stability for units mobilizing in and out of the CRC over the next three years.
"With this new group of Soldiers coming on board, we want to have some continuity," said Cornett. "About 15 Soldiers from the outgoing battalion decided to stay on post and continue with the new unit that's coming in. With me being the CRC Active Duty executive officer here, I maintain continuity by helping the next units transition to working at the center."
The center has supported the deployment of military and civilian personnel to more than 36 nations. They support the validation and deployment of approximately 850 deploying and redeploying non-unit replacement personnel every week.
Being part of the newly formed CRC 6 is an exciting opportunity for many Soldiers, including Sgt. Shaunica Amantine, a human resources specialist and CRC 6 member. She explains how she sees the CRC mission as an integral part of the big Army picture.
"We get to help so many people who are going and coming back," said Amantine. "I'm honored to be part of this great opportunity to truly make a difference. We play a very important role in helping people in their transitioning, things like issuing supplies and making sure their pay is in order. And then helping them come back home is exciting, too."
Brig. Gen. Hector Lopez, commander of the 94th TD, explained the CRC mission is essential to Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey's Ready Force X deployment model.
"In the event that we have to surge, for any contingency in the world, these are the folks who are making it happen," said Lopez. "This CRC organization ensures that we can provide ready, lethal, and capable Soldiers into formations that can win our nation's wars."