The 402nd Army Field Support Brigade’s location in Hawaii makes it unique for reasons other than the palm trees in front of the building. Over the course of three days, the 402nd had the opportunity to highlight the brigade’s capabilities and unique position during the recent visit from Army Sustainment Command’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Daniel Mitchell.
“Showing the capabilities of Army Material Command, or AMC, equities in the Hawaiian Islands, as well as how synchronized we are with the organizations we support allowed for the CG to witness our team’s readiness,” said Col. Anthony Walters, the commander of the 402nd AFSB.
With a schedule packed full of tours, meetings and briefings, the 402nd’s breadth of responsibility was on full display, beginning with a trip to the Big Island to visit the Army’s Pōhakuloa Training Area, or PTA.
“There are nuances associated with supporting a remote training area that one may not fully grasp until you can be on the ground seeing it,” said Parker Kaneakua, the chief logistics management specialist for the 402nd Army Field Support Battalion-Hawaii.
Unlike other Army training areas, PTA is located on another island and not close to an airport. Soldiers going to train must first take a commercial flight from Oahu to the Big Island and then still have a roughly one-hour drive to PTA.
“This really is the only training area that they have within the region and the 402nd is not only supporting the Army, but the Marine Corps as well,” said Mitchell. “I was impressed with Lt. Col. Loreto Borce, not only for the vast area he leads, but the partnerships he has been able to cultivate in the Hawaiian community.”
In addition to the trip to PTA, the 402nd arranged a number of meetings with members of the organizations they work closest with, including U.S. Army-Pacific, also known as USARPAC, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, and the 25th Infantry Division located at Schofield Barracks.
“I really appreciated that Maj. Gen Mitchell made the effort to visit the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii (USARHAW) teams,” said the deputy commanding general for the 25th ID, Brig. Gen. Patrick Gaydon. “Neither the division nor USARHAW can maintain readiness and take care of our people without the support his command provides on a daily basis.”
The 402nd has a handful of initiatives they are proud of and wanted to ensure Mitchell had a chance to visit the personnel to learn more, according to Walters.
“One of the 402nd’s current priorities is the creation of a Modernization Displacement and Repair Site as part of the Army’s Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, or ReARMM, initiative,” said
Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Lepley from the 402nd AFSB. “Based on the feedback and questions from Maj. Gen. Mitchell, we are going to work to get MDRS executed sooner than anticipated, which will give us the capability that to synchronize fielding and divestiture,” said Lepley. He added that having MDRS up and running sooner will support several key upcoming fielding initiatives in Hawaii.
Gaydon said that the 402nd Army Field Support Battalion-Hawaii’s support of the 25th ID is such that it creates a seamless integration with USARHAW.
“We are one hundred percent aligned with Maj. Gen. Mitchell and his team and the 402nd AFSBn-Hawaii truly plays a role with our readiness on a daily basis, both tactical readiness and instillation readiness," said Gaydon.
The 402nd’s integration was not only apparent during the tours with Gaydon, but through operation briefs as well.
“We wanted to give Maj. Gen. Mitchell a snapshot of a talent we have when it comes to how the 402nd is supporting strategic planning efforts at the USARPAC level and really focused on posture and operation planning development,” said Walters.
In fact, after an afternoon of briefs, Mitchell ended the day pleased with the amount of synchronization the 402nd has with USARPAC, especially at the strategic level.
“I was impressed with how they plan and execute strategic logistic support for posture and operations,” said Mitchell. “I also left the briefing feeling comfortable with the 402nd’s ability to project power and support deployment operations out of Hawaii.”
The 402nd AFSB is uniquely situated in that they have requirements specific to commands on the U.S. mainland as well as requirements relating to theater AFSBs abroad. Mitchell’s visit may have been short, but he had the opportunity to interact with the daily support requirements and challenges that come with being in Hawaii.
“I think Maj. Gen. Mitchell came in with an idea of our unique situation but left with a full understanding of the nuances associated with the 402nd. We have to project power outside of our region almost at a twice or three time the distance as other organizations,” said Walters. “Having Maj. Gen. Mitchell see that, reassures me we will have continued support from him and ASC.”