By Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie, USARPAC CCP Public AffairsOctober 25, 2010
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, (Kaneohe) Hawaii - Muscle memory is a term used often by Soldiers referring not necessarily to literal muscles but rather to a widely understood concept applied to training.
The U.S. Army, Pacific, Contingency Command Post, the quick reaction command and control heaquarters unit of the Pacific, recently exercised this muscle memory during its Validation Exercise Oct. 12 through 29 at Marine Corps Base, Hawaii.
"Repetition builds proficiency, that's a fundamental tenet of anything we do in the Army," said Maj. Keegan Leonard, aviations operations chief and deputy chief of operations for USARPAC CCP's Deployable Assessment Team. "This event shows the culmination of the muscle movements we've been practicing for over a year."
A concept currently unique within the U.S. Army, the CCP has been training to become fully operational capable since August 2009, conducting a number of exercises, testing various ways of setting up and establishing a self-sustaining command center in a short amount of time.
The CCP's goal for FOC is during Exercise Balikatan 11, a combined exercise conducted annually in the Philippines.
The VALEX's advanced liaison party of 12 arrived first, followed 24 hours later by the remainder of CCP personnel and equipment, when they began building the additional capability required for the entire unit to operate from.
"We have portable communications, some sparse tentage and power generation, so the idea is that we can get there, set up a warm base of operations and have immediate conversations with the tactical operations center back here in Hawaii," said Leonard. "Ultimately we want to see how quickly we can be up and running as a viable function for the USARPAC commander."
The CCP is a small entity compared to most deploying units, with 96 personnel assigned and 73 different job specialties represented.
"This organization is the first I've been in that is so top heavy with senior non-commissioned officers and field-grade officers, normally you've got a lot of junior enlisted that do the yeomen work of setting up," said Leonard. "But here at the CCP, with mostly officers and senior NCOs, we just pitch in and everyone does a job.
"We know we have to do it, and a lot of this comes from the maturity and the wisdom that comes with just time in the Army and being leaders," Leonard said.
"We had everyone from our colonels to sergeants major putting up tents, running power cables... you had senior NCOs and officers setting up tents, carrying fuel cans, setting up concertina wire, it was a true team effort," said Capt. Gregory Edgreen, USARPAC Headquarters Support Company commander.
The USARPAC HSC provided all the life support to the command post during the exercise. "We take care of everything from force protection, power generation, fuel support ... all the food, the water, any of the behind the scenes type support that you can imagine," said Edgreen.
The first few days of the exercise were conducted as a 24- hour operation, testing the amount of set-up time as well.
"The iterations we've gone through have made us better, so we've greatly reduced our set-up time," said Leonard. "Because we exercise our communications capabilities on a routine basis, we were able to show up here, get our communications up and running and provide that footprint for the CCP."
Sgt. Lauren Hart, an informations systems technician and the advanced team's communications non-commissioned officer, set up the satellite communications within thirty minutes. "This was my first time handling this equipment, but it went smoothly and I was confident getting it up and running due to the training I received prior to the exercise."
With obstacles overcome and mission accomplished, the next stop for USARPAC CCP and HSC is Exercise Balikatan 11, where the unit will be able to flex that muscle memory and become fully operational capable.
"I am impressed with the amount of teamework that has been displayed with HSC, CCP and all of our attachments. We all have one mission, one cause, and we've been working extremely well together," said Edgreen. "We hope to leverage these relationships as we move forward to Balikatan 11."