FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Directorate of Human Resources on Fort Bragg has implemented a first in the Army tracking system for in-processing Soldiers that allows the Reception Company 72 hours to receive a Soldier and hand them over to their gaining unit. Even though Army regulations state that the installation has five days to fully in-process a Soldier, this program has condensed it to three days.
In 2008, the vice chief of staff of the Army instituted a proposal to test the tracking system, Installation Permanent Party Reception, at six of the largest Army posts; Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Lewis, Fort Sill, Okla., Fort Bliss, Texas and Fort Campbell, Ky. The system is designed to in-process every Soldier through the Soldier Readiness Process level one tasks and to ensure Soldiers are ready for deployment once assigned to their new unit.
Because the test pilot at Fort Bragg went so well, the Army decided not to test the other posts. In July 2009, the Fort Bragg Reception Company took on the responsibilities of in-processing 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers on top of the XVIII Airborne Corps Soldiers they were already responsible for.
Now all of Fort Bragg's permanent party Soldiers go through the Fort Bragg Reception Company before heading to their gaining units. The reception company has in-processed about 7,000 new Soldiers to Fort Bragg and has doubled this number since gaining the duties of in-processing 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers.
Upon arrival at Fort Bragg, a Soldier must first sign in at the reception company. Using their common access card, they will log onto the Virtual Installation Processing System and sign in on the Soldier Accountability Module. Here, they will be tracked as part of the reception company until they are done with all in-processing procedures.
After signing in, new Soldiers are assigned to a platoon in which the platoon sergeant becomes accountable for them. Soldiers will go through multiple video briefs that introduce them to the Army programs available, such as equal opportunity, the inspector general, and Army Community Services. Then they will be given a checklist of agencies to in-process at the Soldier Support Center located on Normandy Drive. Most of the agencies where they need to in-process are located at the Soldier Support Center except TRICARE, the Army's medical insurance agency, which is located a short distance away at Womack Army Medical Center.
While at the Reception Company, Soldiers will be part of accountability formations twice a day, once in the morning and another in the afternoon.
"Accountability is the key," said Capt. Gloria McKnight, commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company garrison and Fort Bragg Reception. "The process is working very well. The platoon sergeants know to check the rosters (every formation) and to ensure Soldiers are in-processed through those particular areas that will get them ready for (their new unit and) deployment."
Once the Soldier is fully in-processed, the gaining unit's personnel section will sign the Soldier out and take responsibility. Before the Soldier leaves, he will again log onto the tracking system, SAM, and sign out of the Reception Company.
"Before they go to their unit they will have already gone through their finances, initial dental screening and they will have updated Tricare," said McKnight. "Basically they'll get the big stuff done here before going to their unit."
McKnight said that in the past, installations had trouble getting Soldiers in-processed and ready for rapid deployments.
"Units were taking time from training and having to in-process their Soldiers. The Army had to come up with a plan," she said.