By 1st Sgt. Daniel A Griego (Army Reserve) and Sgt. Rigo Cisneros (Army Reserve)May 22, 2019
Fort Hood, Texas -- Gen. Mark A. Milley, the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, has three priorities for his combat-hardened fighting force. In his own words, "Readiness is number one, and there is no other number one. We must ensure the Army remains ready as the world's premier combat force."
For the Soldiers of the 63rd Readiness Division, this readiness starts at home with validation through a comprehensive Soldier Readiness Processing.
During an SRP, a Soldier will ensure they are mission-ready in important areas of deployment preparedness, from finance to legal to medical. It can be a monumental task for organizations as large as the 63rd Readiness Division, an Army Reserve outfit headquartered out of Mountain View, California, and responsible for the administration of subordinate units across seven states, to include the 3rd Main Command Post Operation Detachment. This specialized detachment is shifting focus this month in preparation for its imminent mobilization in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Southwest Asia.
The 3rd MCP-OD is unlike most Army Reserve units that perform battle assemblies one weekend a month and an additional two weeks in a year. The MCP-OD conducts its training during the week and alongside their active duty counterparts in the famed III Armored Corps here at Fort Hood. Its doctrinal mission is to enhance the capabilities of a division or corps headquarters battalion. This is exactly what they will be doing as III Armored Corps prepares to assume the Combined Joint Task Force mission overseas.
Although new to the Army structure (the unit was stood up in November 2016), the MCP-OD is at the forefront of the multi-component unit design, bridging active and Reserve elements to get the most out of both.
"We train the unit to the Corps' [mission standard], so it doesn't do us any good if we are here on weekends when everything is shutdown," said Army Reserve Cpt. Ryan R. Sweet, commander of the MCP-OD. "As we train on the road to war, the key directors [in Corps] are working with the same personnel and see that a specific Reserve Soldier trained up with the team and is ready for the real-world mission."
Although the MCP-OD is stationed at Fort Hood next to III Armored Corps and their active duty mission is to support III Armored Corps, they are still a U.S. Army Reserve unit under the 63rd Readiness Division.
"The 63rd has been able to give us a direct line to get things done and have been instrumental in our success so far," said Sweet. "When a problem appears, we don't have to get with battalion and have that person put it on someone's desk at brigade. We have those people who can fix the problem on the spot."
"The 63rd is here to provide the expertise of working with the Reserve component in a way III Corps can't provide, and that way we can take better care of our Soldiers," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Louisa A. Walker, the administrative officer in charge for the Mission Command Support Group. "Ultimately, they belong to us and we are responsible for them."
A given Soldier must complete all three levels of SRP prior to deploying overseas. The MCP-OD completed Level 1 more than a month ago at their home station and are now processing through Level 2, typically conducted 30-60 days prior to arriving at the mobilization site. Level 3 concludes the process and takes place at the mob station prior to getting on the plane to deploy.
"Level 2 is what we're here for. A lot of the Soldiers' information should have already been updated at home station; we're here to make sure it has been," said Walker. "We're more of a 'check and balance' system."
Once complete, the MCP-OD will move on to the next stage of their deployment training, shifting focus from administrative readiness to mission and physical readiness. Their overseas value cannot be overstated as they support their active component counterparts in everything from intelligence and logistics to combat operations.
"This is my first SRP and deployment," said Pfc. Kristen A. Faircloth, a signal communications specialist with the unit. "It was pretty painless thanks to the 63rd being here."