FORT KNOX, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2010) - About 70 Soldiers from Fort Knox's 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) deployed to Fort Bragg, N.C. Sept. 9 to participate in the Joint Forced Entry Exercise which included Army and Air Force units from across the country.

The JFEX tested the 3d ESC's readiness for short-notice deployments, like the one which sent the unit to Haiti earlier this year. The exercise also improved their ability to work with other services and outside agencies.

The 3d ESC leadership designated approximately 70 of its Soldiers to serve as the unit's early entry package in support of any number of future missions. These Soldiers include a sampling of senior and junior officers, warrant officers and NCOs, from across the staff of the 3d ESC.

"I think what's key is we validated Force Package I and we now have a contingency or early entry command post that can provide that initial operational level command and control," said Atlanta, Ga. native Col. Jarrold Reeves, ESC deputy commander. "This team can pass information back to our main body, what we call Force Package II, as they continue planning and mission analysis."

The JFEX began with Soldiers establishing a Joint Operations Center DRASH tent next to Mackall Army Airfield, about 45 minutes from Fort Bragg's main post. Additionally, a life support area was established including nine sleep tents and a dining facility tent serving hot meals twice daily.

The exercise took place between Sept. 14-16 and involved elements of the 18th Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and the Air Force's 82nd Global Mobility Group from Travis, Air Force Base, Ca.

"It gave us an opportunity to take lessons learned from Haiti and our progressive training strategy and progress just a little bit further, as we develop our ability to deploy under contingency operations," said Reeves.

The scenario for the exercise involved American forces supporting the forces from a friendly nation and then entering a less friendly nation to help them battle a rebel force in their territory.

Throughout this fictional mission, the 3d ESC executed its traditional mission of managing the logistics supporting an entire operation as well as the individual troops in the field. During the three-day exercise, with the help of its Army and Air Force partners, the 3d ESC managed the movement of hundreds of Soldiers and tons of equipment and supplies through Mackall Army Air Field.

"It was a big success in, one, identifying the personnel and equipment packages, and, two, setting them up and exercising them here at Fort Knox. Great operation," said Reeves.

The 3d ESC has three more exercises planned later in this fall. These exercises, at Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Lee, Va. And Ft. Eustis, Va. will accomplish goals ranging from helping a subordinate brigade prepare for deployment to continuing to improve its own ability to deploy and operate in any number of contingency operations. According to Reeves, this will all lead to an exercise in which the 3d ESC's first group of 70 Soldiers will deploy, followed by the rest of the unit, which could be called for in a future contingency operation.