By Mr. Darryl Howlett (First Army)May 3, 2019
CAMP DODGE, IOWA -- First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr., toured the Iowa Army National Guard Sustainment Training Center here on April 30 to get a better understanding of the facility's capabilities and challenges.
James discussed ongoing readiness requirements and training capabilities offered at the Sustainment Training Center with interim Iowa National Guard Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Osborn, who led the tour.
Osborn, a native of Davenport, is currently serving as Iowa's highest ranking soldier following the retirement of former Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, who held the position since 2009.
James started the visit with a 30-minute capabilities brief before touring several buildings and facilities, which provide collective training for sustainment units from across the United States and assists in preparing units for potential deployments. Should the nation need to quickly deploy units in response to a large-scale conflict, facilities like the STC play a key role in ensuring unit readiness. Understanding these existing processes help First Army provide more relevant training to deploying Reserve Component units.
"What I am trying to do from a First Army perspective is get our arms around the capabilities that exist across the country and this is in Iowa, Camp Dodge, this enormous capability, and so being able to understand how we can tap into this resource and be able to spread it to all the outer parts of the United States to those national guard units that would need it and reserve components," James said after touring the STC. "We also talked about the idea (that) this is really component agnostic: It can be active. It can be National Guard or Reserve to take part in this training activity."
First Army, headquartered at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, carries the essential mission of partnering with and enabling the readiness of the Iowa Army National Guard as well all other National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve units in the continental United States, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
In the event Iowa Army National Guard units are activated to support domestic or worldwide contingencies, First Army will help mobilize, train and validate these organizations for critical overseas missions. Since 9/11, First Army has mobilized more than 1.3 million Soldiers, joint service members and interagency partners, including several thousand from the Iowa Army National Guard.
Soldiers from National Guard units in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, along with active duty Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ken., are currently training at the STC.
The U.S. Army relies heavily on its reserve components, including the Iowa Army National Guard. More than half of the U.S. Army's force structure resides in the reserve component, including more than 40 percent of its divisions and combat brigades. Additionally, more than 65 percent of combat support -- intelligence, logistics, medical, engineering and civil affairs -- belong to the reserve component.
Osborn welcomed the opportunity to showcase the STC's capabilities.
"Providing that opportunity for the First Army commander, the First Army to come and see really what's in their backyard just down the road from Rock Island, provides great value as he and his staff are responsible for those reserve component organizations," he said.
As part of the First Army mission to foster positive and productive relationships with the reserve component, James meets with every state's Adjutant General.
The Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Mark A. Milley, has said readiness is the No. 1 priority for America's largest fighting force. The Iowa National Guard will continue to make readiness goals a reality by providing ready forces in defense of the nation.