By Capt. Kurt Van SlootenOctober 1, 2010
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - Maj. Gen. Ron S. Chastain, deputy commanding general (Reserve Component), U.S. Army Forces Command, arrived Monday for his last official visit to Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center to perform a status check with the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team commander and the 188th Infantry Brigade commander on the 116th's mobilization progress.
"The 116th came to this mobilization center in better shape than any BCT I have seen since we have started the force protection mission," said Chastain. "The 116th had the highest percentage of pre-mobilization tasks completed of any security force unit I have seen."
Chastain said the 116th CBCT was the first brigade combat team to go through the whole Army Force Generation cycle, which is a process to meet the challenges of persistent global conflict and the need for rapidly rotating units and capabilities. ARFORGEN provides increased readiness over time through a unit's preparation for deployment.
"The 116th received notice two years before their deployment, and Col. Thomas and Command Sgt. Maj. Woodall had a good pre-mob plan to accomplish tasks before they got here," said Chastain.
Chastain also visited Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle training and Counter Improvised Explosive Device training locations during his visit to CSJFTC.
Lt. Col. Anthony Scotto, 3-346th Combat Service Support Battalion commander of the 177th Armored Brigade, met Chastain at the MRAP Egress Trainer to explain Camp Shelby's MRAP training capabilities. He took Chastain on a tour of the MRAP egress training, MRAP driver's and mechanic's training, and MRAP simulator training facilities.
"We give the Soldiers a 40-hour driving certificate, which is what they need to be certified for MRAP driving in theater," said Scotto. For mechanics, Camp Shelby provides a 50-hour course on field-level maintenance he said. All mechanics and trainers have been through the full training course at Red River Army Depot, and are certified.
Maj. Wade Weaver, 1-346th Air Defense Artillery Battalion commander of the 177th Armored Brigade walked Chastain through CSJFTC's C-IED capabilities. Those capabilities included four trailers from Joint IED Defeat Organization, which make up the Mobile Counter-IED Interactive Trainer, one of six systems currently being used to assist in training forces to combat the threat in theater. Chastain also toured the Home Made Explosives Laboratory and the Dismounted IED Visual Indicator Lane.
The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.