CAMP ZAMA, Japan (August 24, 2009) - Maj. Erik Jablonski spent a year and a half in Kirkush, Iraq, near the Iranian border on a Military Transition Team. Living and working conditions were far from ideal for him and his Soldiers. He has one word to describe working in his forward tactical operations center there - crowded.

"It was like a bad scene from the bridge in the old Star Trek TV show," said Jablonski, the 8th TSC supply and services division chief. "Everybody and everything was condensed together into a small space."

Jablonski and about 70 Soldiers from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command deployed their forward command post (FCP) here Aug. 12 to the U.S. Army, Japan / I Corps (Forward) / U.S. Army Garrison, Japan command center to exercise their theater sustainment capabilities.

The command center here is a state of the art facility, complete with multiple secure video feeds, computer terminals with secret and unclassified internet service, and secure phones. The command center gives the 8th TSC Soldiers the ability to plug and play, making the deployment from Hawaii an almost seamless transition.

"That's why this facility is super for (the 8th TSC)," Jablonski added. "All the technology here makes it very simple for us to see what is going on throughout the theater, as it's happening. Plus, there is plenty of room for everyone."

The 8th TSC is the command responsible for logistics sustainment in the Pacific Theater, providing support from the factory to the foxhole for warfighters from Alaska to Korea, an area spanning 9,000 miles. This command post exercise also tests the reach back capability provided by the 8th TSC main command post (MCP), located at Ft. Shafter, Hawaii.

The 8th TSC deploys its FCP to give the commander a first-hand look at the situation on the ground, giving him the information he needs to make accurate, timely decisions.

Maj. Rich Helling, G-3 day shift operations officer, said that deploying into a mature headquarters command center is beneficial for the 8th TSC and provides realistic training, but the FCP has a larger role in the Pacific theater.

"The FCP allows the commander the ability to quickly move into an austere environment, set up operations, and assume a command and control role," he said.

That larger role, Helling added, means that the 8th TSC can assist victims of a natural disaster, such as a tsunami or an earthquake, from the location of the disaster.

The 8th TSC is one of three theater-level sustainment commands in the Army, and has conducted and participated in several theater security cooperation exercises during the past 18 months. The 8th TSC Soldiers will return to Hawaii at the end of August.