JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington -- Soldiers from 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, load Strykers and equipment for rail movement, Aug. 5-16, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in preparation for a month-long training event at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
"Today is going pretty well," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Daniel McMillen, the Brigade Mobility Officer. "It's day three so we have trains loading, vehicles staging to be loaded, items in maintenance and we're still receiving equipment down at the scale house are in the full heart of the operation right now."
Over 1,000 pieces of brigade equipment to include Strykers, fire platforms, and combat support equipment will be processed for transport and loaded onto trains in a two-week time period.
"Any NTC out-load is designed to test the deployability of the unit," said McMillen. "When we go to Yakima Training Center or to a local field training we usually convoy and don't configure the containers and vehicles to go by rail or vessel like we would for a deployment. For NTC, it forces the unit to accurately account for what they need, load it, configure it, and send everything to NTC."
The Army's NTC rotations are designed to test the brigade's ability to deploy to an austere environment and overcome an enemy threat. More than 4,000 Soldiers from the brigade are participating with augmentation from combat enabling units like special forces, civil affairs, military police and aviation.
"This type of movement takes approximately 350 to 500 people to execute," continues McMillen, "You have about 250 people dedicated to rail and staging operations and another 50 to 100 people dedicated to driving, ground guiding, and safeties."
This is just one of many requirements taking place before any large-scale deployment. The Soldiers have to complete medical and personnel readiness requirements before departing Joint Base Lewis-McChord to ensure they and their families are ready to support the deployment.
"Soldiers will have a hundred different tasks right before they deploy," stated Lt. Col. David Owshalimpur, the Madigan Department of Soldier Readiness Chief. "We want to be as efficient as possible so we can decrease the time they need to spend with us so they concentrate on their other deployment requirements."
He and a team of more than 200 staff to including Servicemembers and Department of the Army Civilians are testing their ability to process large units for deployment in a very short time frame for Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
"On our normal operation hours we process about 100 personnel a day," stated Owshalimpur, "Today we're processing closer to 2,000."
"Given things going on all over the world," continued Owshalimpur. "The ability to project military strength anywhere at anytime is important. This exercise will help us accomplish that. Our goal is to see how we get 2,000 people processed in a day and how we can sustain that for multiple days. This allows us to get a large number of forces to wherever they need to be around the world in a short amount of time."