By Spc. Hannah Frenchick, 20th Public Affairs DetachmentMay 21, 2011
Yakima Training Center, Wash. -- In preparation for full spectrum operations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., the 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, began setting up and running a brigade support area (BSA) on the vast land of Yakima Training Center during a field training exercise which began May 15.
The 296th BSB supports the maneuverable battalions, who are located throughout YTC, with logistics, maintenance, and medical support.
Aca,!A"During this field event, 296th BSB is preparing for NTC,Aca,!A? said Maj. Steven Putthoff, executive officer, 296th BSB. Aca,!A"NTC is different than it used to be. Now itAca,!a,,cs maneuvering against the OPFOR (opposing Force), rather than fighting on a FOB (forward operating base), everything is now mobile. We need to be able to provide our own security, while continuing on with our support missions.Aca,!A?
The training the Soldiers of 296th BSB are receiving at YTC prepares them to set up a BSA in any environment and drive on with their mission to support the Brigade.
Aca,!A"There is great teamwork here and its good to have company, battalion, and brigade training events. It gives us the opportunity, before we go to NTC, or even deploy, to get the team to work together,Aca,!A? said Capt. Jon Messenger, C Company commander, 296th BSB.
Each company in the BSB plays an intricate role in supporting the many missions while training at YTC.
Headquarters, Headquarters Company is made up of administrative staff and cooks. HHC has four cooks preparing breakfast and dinner daily in a containerized kitchen for approximately 500 members of the BSB.
Having a hot meal is normal while in a garrison environment, but while in the field or deployed a hot meal is often a luxury.
Aca,!A"After a few days of eating MREAca,!a,,cs soldiers sometimes stop thinking about the mission and start thinking IAca,!a,,cm hungry,Aca,!A? said Spc. James Bradbury, assigned to HHC 296th BSB, while working in the containerized kitchen. Aca,!A"We like to think itAca,!a,,cd be difficult without hot food. Aca,!A"
Members of the BSB arenAca,!a,,ct the only ones receiving hot meals while in YTC.
The battalion has the capability of sending out the assault kitchen to the other units, said Bradbury, a Newburgh, N.Y. native. The assault kitchen is a smaller version of the containerized kitchen. Two soldiers are able to prepare food on the go and feed a company.
Bravo CompanyAca,!a,,cs main responsibility is maintenance, particularly maintenance on Strykers. The company also provides security for the BSA.
Aca,!A"Maintenance keeps the vehicles and people in the fight,Aca,!A? said Sgt. 1st Class Jody Witham, maintenance supervisor, B Company, 296th BSB. Aca,!A" We are a Stryker brigade. We spend a lot of time making sure they stay in the fight as much as possible. We have to keep them moving to fight.Aca,!A?
To keep the maneuverable battalions moving the maintenance company uses an area support concept.
Aca,!A"If battalions have issues they call us and we launch assets to maintain or recover their equipment,Aca,!A? said Witham, a Bluefield, Va., native. Aca,!A"We have vehicle maintenance, generator support and we also have Soldiers embedded with all the maneuver battalions who coordinate and tell us what they need through our battalion element. Our guys here at the BSA turn that plan into a reality.Aca,!A?
The BSA also houses a Role-2 medical treatment center ran by Charlie Company.
Aca,!A"A Role-2 medical treatment center includes a traditional maneuverable aid station, a patient holding area and multiple providers,Aca,!A? said Messenger. Aca,!A"We also have ancillary services such as lab, X-ray, physical therapy, dental, behavioral health and preventive medicine.Aca,!A?
Besides running sick call, the medics of C Company have been able to get back to the basics of soldiering.
Aca,!A"The old Soldier skills that have faded away and are now being reinstated,Aca,!A? said Messenger.
Aca,!A"This Brigade FTX is really the first opportunity weAca,!a,,cve had to set up the Role-2 tents completely and really figure out how we are going to run it at NTC. Coming out here and doing the patient care without the nice buildings, like you have in Iraq or Afghanistan, but with the actual tents we are issued, and doing it in an austere environment has been beneficial in preparing us for NTC.Aca,!A?
While the maneuverable battalions of the 3-2 Infantry Brigade train on their specific missions, the Soldiers of the 296th BSB continue to support them on a day-to-day basis. Providing them with supplies, food, maintenance and medical treatment, everything they need to successfully complete their missions.