By Sgt. 1st Class Michael CoxAugust 28, 2018
Fort Hood- The 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command welcomed back 25 Soldiers on August 3 2018,who went to the West African nation of Ghana to take part in United Accord18, a two week exercise to test their ability to deploy to an austere environment and set up an early entry command post that can coordinate logistics support to the U.S. Army Africa Command mission.
United Accord 2018 is a Ghana Armed Forces and a U.S. Army Africa hosted exercise with West -Africa partner militaries and NATO allies. The exercise consisted of four combined, joint components: a Command Post Exercise, field training exercise, Jungle Warfare School and medical readiness training exercise.
The EECP was set up in cooperative security U.S. location which also served to support the U.S. Embassy in Ghana to be able to expedite embassy personnel to a secure location during a non-combatant evacuation operation or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
"Our mission there was primarily reception staging onward movement for U.S. Army Africa and all of the forces that were entering the theater, Maj. Jesus Pena, Chief of Plans G3 13th ESC. "Part of our responsibility was to set the joint operations area, establish the theater, theater opening and conduct the RSO process for all forces entering the theater."
The ESC assisted with sustainment operations and supported logistics efforts with acquisition cross serving agreements and the Logistic Civil Augmentation Program that was already available on the ground.
"Part of the LOGCAP support is establishing, operating and running and doing the managerial part of the cooperative security location there," Pena said. "Our big training objective that we had was the management of the CSL. Specifically when forces arrive, forces get established and we conduct reception staging and onward movement operations at the aerial port of embarkation to their tactical assembly area so they can continue on with their mission."
The 13th ESC in-processed nearly 500 personnel from USARAF, African partnered nations, the United Nations, 36th Engineer Brigade, and 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. They briefed all forces entering theater on legal matters, medical threats, cultural awareness, anti-terrorist threats, rules of engagement and onward movement.
The exercise provided the ESC a valuable opportunity to go to an immature theater in a foreign country to get mission command up and running and communicate back to the 13th ESC headquarters on Fort Hood to relay communications, transmit, receive back and forth and have the ability to command forward with the specified area of operations that they are tied into.
"Communications was a crucial part of our training objective in Ghana," Pena said. "Can we communicate back to the main headquarters so that we can do distributive mission command forward in a different combatant command?"
United Accord also allowed for the 13th ESC to exercise their civil affairs assets who arranged military engagements with GAF.
13th ESC Soldiers visited GAF Centers of Excellence, which is the equivalent to our ordinance, quartermaster and transportation school, providing an opportunity to see how the Ghanaian military operate and train their forces.
"United Accord offered us a way to interact with our unified partners and learn the culture of the local populace and Ghanaian Armed Forces," said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Montoya, 13th ESC Civil Affairs NCOIC. "It gave us an opportunity to work on our CA training objectives, work on our military engagements skills and to further develop our SOPs."
United Accord 18 established a template for U.S. Army Africa on how they can best utilize an Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
"We are the first ESC assigned to AFRICOM and now we are transitioning out. Once the new gift map comes out a new ESC will be assigned to the mission," Pena said. "So the USARAF can clearly understand how to best utilize an ESC for future missions, exercises, and operations in the continent of Africa."
This was the second time the 13th ESC deployed the EECP to the continent of Africa. Last year the unit deployed a team of Soldiers to Gabon to take part in Judicious Activation 17.