JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., (Aug 10, 2011) Approximately 200 Soldiers from the 99th Regional Support Command (RSC) area of responsibility woke up this morning to begin “Operation Checkerboard” at the Maj. John P. Pryor Army Reserve Center.

“Operation Checkerboard” is the operational name for the five-day field training exercise during which Army Reserve and Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Soldiers will test their mettle as part of their annual training commitment for the Army Reserve.

Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 99th RSC stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst; the 78th Army Band also stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst; the 319th Army Band stationed at Fort Totten, N.Y.; the 94th Army Band stationed at East Windsor, Conn.; the 198th Army Band stationed at Rochester, N.Y.; and the 380th Army Band stationed at Richmond, Va., will be assessed on all Full Spectrum Operations Mission Essential Tasks (FSO METs).

“During this exercise, we will touch on each one of our METL tasks, which includes Conduct Command and Control, Protect the force, and Provide Sustainment,” commented Maj. Kevin Branch, commandant of HHC, 99th RSC.

The Army created standardized Full Spectrum Operations Mission Essential Tasks Lists (FSO METLs) to help selected brigade and higher-echelon units identify the minimum fundamental doctrinal tasks they must be prepared to perform in any operational environment. These help ensure unit readiness for deployment.

The types of training that leaders and their Soldiers will be assessed on are Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction and Basic Rifle Marksmanship, cultural-awareness training, first aid and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and Squad Level Tactics during the five-day exercise.

“This training is vital to the Soldiers of the 99th because it will enable them to become more proficient, enhancing our ability to deploy and fight effectively regardless of the environment,” explained Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Castelveter, command sergeant major, 99th RSC.

“This is an excellent chance to do some of the Army warrior tasks that we don’t usually get to do and to step up and prove that we can Soldier with everybody else,” said 1st Sgt. Timothy Pawlick, first sergeant, 78th Army Band.

In addition to the warrior task training, instructors from the United States Army Field Band will also be on hand to give musical clinics for the various types of instruments.

The 99th RSC acts as a “virtual installation” that provides world-class Base Operations support to over 50,000 Army Reserve Soldiers, 400 units and 300 facilities for the entire Northeast Region from Maine to Virginia for the Army Reserve in order to give our Warrior-Citizens and their Families the finest care, support, services and training.

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