By Jacob Kriss, CECOM Public AffairsJanuary 21, 2020
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. -- It was New Year's Eve 2019 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of the famed 82nd Airborne Division, when the "Green Corvette" alert arrived. With tensions in the Middle East rising, 3,500 reinforcements from the 82nd's 1st Brigade Combat Team would be deploying to Kuwait -- immediately.
The 1st BCT is known as the Army's quick-deployment brigade, ready to go at a moment's notice anywhere in the world they are needed to protect American lives and interests. And when the 1st BCT jumped into action, so did the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, which ensures deploying Soldiers are supplied and sustained with the radios, radars, satellite terminals, night vision and other critical equipment they need to achieve their mission.
FULLY MISSION CAPABLE
For Dennis Stephens, CECOM senior command representative with the 406th Army Field Support Brigade at Fort Bragg, the first job was to go through the equipment status report to ensure the unit's communications and electronics systems were ready to go. He also engaged with 1st BCT intelligence, logistics and information technology staff to determine what equipment the unit was taking.
"Within the first 18 hours, we made sure everything going was fully mission capable," he said.
For this deployment, CECOM achieved 98.6% readiness, with only a couple of systems already set to receive needed parts upon arrival in Kuwait. Under the Army's "configured for combat" concept, the 1st BCT also drew from Army Prepositioned Stock 5 in Kuwait, including equipment like electronic warfare platforms and blue force trackers that map the location of friendly units.
Throughout the process, Stephens coordinated closely with Charles Maddox, CECOM senior command representative with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade, which manages APS-5. Stephens and Maddox work in a "pitch and catch" relationship, with Stephens getting Soldiers out the door with the right equipment and Maddox receiving them on arrival.
"I have to keep Charles informed, and he keeps me informed of anything I need to know," Stephens said.
After the deployment was announced, Maddox and Stephens participated in daily calls with CECOM operations personnel and AFSB leaders. CECOM personnel supporting the deployment include representatives from the Tobyhanna Army Depot, Integrated Logistics Support Center, Software Engineering Center and Communications Security Logistics Activity, making it a truly cross-command effort.
THE WAY FORWARD
With the 1st BCT now safely in Kuwait, Maddox and Stephens are repeating the same process for the possible arrival of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, which operates aircraft like the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. They are also planning for technicians from the Tobyhanna Army Depot and Integrated Logistics Support Center to fabricate and mount radio installation kits in APS-5 vehicles, a process that will take approximately one month.
"With rapid deployments, the key thing is to remain flexible," Maddox said. "Things change quickly, and you have to be resilient."