By Staff Sgt. David OversonNovember 6, 2018
Fort Shafter Flats, Hawaii -- The Defense Department has a higher expectation of deployability by its forces, said Defense Secretary James N. Mattis in February, according to the U.S. Department of Defense's website.
With that in mind, the Army Reserve's 9th Mission Support Command conducted one of the largest Soldier readiness processing events in the Army Reserve at the United States Army Reserve Daniel K. Inouye Complex Nov. 2 - 3.
According to Lt. Col. Raja Kolli, the event's officer in charge, approximately 1,300 Army Reserve Soldiers were processed during the two-day event, with approximately 800 of them receiving periodic health assessments and 700 receiving dental exams, while all 1,300 had their required paperwork checked and double checked to ensure they are ready for any pending deployment that might arise.
"We are the first Army Reserve Command to conduct a level two SRP using the Active Duty's MPDVS [Mobilization Planning Data Viewing System]," said Kolli, who is an operational medicine physician in his civilian role. "That system automatically syncs the Soldier's information in real-time to DEROS [Date Estimated Return from Overseas], which enables the Regular Army to utilize our Soldiers much quicker than other Soldiers from other Commands."
The 9th MSC is the most ethnically diverse, geographically dispersed command in the U.S. Army Reserve, crossing seven time zones, two U.S. States, two U.S. Territories, a Commonwealth and two foreign countries.
The need for Soldier readiness is being observed firsthand as 9th MSC Soldiers were just mobilized to help with the Indo-Pacific and Joint Region Marianas Super Typhoon Yutu recovery. The Category 5+ storm devastated the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands October 24th. More than 60 Army Reserve Soldiers deployed to Guam, and 280 to Saipan within the past week.
The 9th MSC's Chief of Staff, Col. Geoffrey Greene, was pleased with the command's ability to process so many Soldiers in a single weekend, proving the Army Reserve is ready when needed.
"Soldier readiness is the Chief of Staff of the Army's number one priority," said Greene. "It's also the number one priority of Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, the commander of the Army Reserve, so it's extremely important to us here at the 9th MSC to get our Soldiers ready to do whatever we're called upon to do."
An annual SRP generally consists of medical and mental health assessments, dental examinations, eye examinations, family readiness tasks to ensure all financial benefits are in order and a military training checklist. During an SRP, Soldiers verify that they have completed all required training and briefings to better prepare them for any potential deployments.
"We were called upon to assist in the recovery and restoration efforts of those impacted by Super Typhoon Yutu," added Greene. "We have just under 500 Army Reserve Soldiers on the islands of Guam, Saipan and Tinian. Out of those 500 we had to select 350 based on specific ranks, skillsets and qualifications in order to mobilize them. And because our Soldiers were medically ready, are trained to perform their specific jobs, and they performed the necessary requirements to mobilize, it made the mobilization a rather quick process."
The remaining 9th MSC units at other locations, e.g. Alaska, Korea and Japan, are projected to receive their SRP in coming weeks with the entire command completed by Jan., 2019.
"We do this every year," said Greene. "We do our best to ensure all 3,400 Soldiers within the 9th MSC are ready to deploy when needed."