By Army Sustainment Command Public AffairsNovember 27, 2012
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The Army Sustainment Command historian led a group of 20 deploying Soldiers, four Military Explorers and 11 Boy Scouts on a Rock Island Arsenal historical road march Nov. 10.
George Eaton, a retired Army officer, led a 5-mile road march that took participants to many points of interest, where Eaton presented historical facts about the Arsenal.
"The Quad Cities area is rich in significant history and events on Arsenal Island, before and after the establishment of Rock Island Arsenal, drove the early history of the area," Eaton said. "Once you walk the island and understand all the events, you understand why Arsenal Island has been the heart of the Quad Cities for over 200 years. It was great to have the Scouts involved and see their interest in local history."
The march was part of the LOGCAP Pre-Deployment Training conducted periodically by ASC that culminated Nov. 18. The reservists came from various areas of the United States and will eventually be deploying to Southwest Asia in support of LOGCAP -- the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program.
LOGCAP is the Army's premier capability to support global contingencies by leveraging corporate assets to augment Army current and programmed sustainment force structure. It contracts out for a broad range of logistics and support services to U.S. and allied forces during wartime, contingency, peacekeeping and training operations.
The reservists -- senior noncommissioned officers, captains and field-grade officers -- will deploy in support of LOGCAP working as logistics support officers. Their deployment will last about a year.
The road march began at 6:30 a.m. near Lock and Dam 15 and ended about 9 a.m. The Association of the United States Army provided cereal bars and juice following the march.
Sgt. Maj. Robert Bell, training noncommissioned officer for ASC G-3 (Training), proposed the idea of involving area scouts and explorers.
"I wanted to get the community more involved in what we do here," Bell said.
He added that the scouts and explorers were surprised to learn of the Confederate Cemetery here, since most did not know such a cemetery existed at RIA. The cemetery is the resting place for the prisoners of war held at RIA during the Civil War.
Likewise, they learned that Quarters 1 was the second largest federal building for living quarters -- only second to the White House -- prior to being closed a couple years ago.
"I used to do road marches and understand that they can be just a physical fitness test or you can get something more out of the event. During the entire event I tried to bring to light to long history of contracting for life support and services such as supplies, food, and transportation," Eaton explained.
"We also highlighted the constant mix here of a few military, more Army civilians and many contractors. That is the way the Army has operated since the American Revolution and, in many ways, what we are doing in Afghanistan and SWA is not different. Contracting services means more Soldiers are available for the fight," Eaton said.
Training reservists for yearlong deployments to Southwest Asia is nothing new for ASC. However, Bell said it was the first time that Eaton led the road march to highlight the historical significance of the island.
Another significant fact of the day was that the road march was conducted on the Marine Corps' birthday.
On Nov. 10, 1775, Capt. Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines in Philadelphia, Pa., as naval infantry.
RIA has a Marine Corps reserve unit located near the clock tower next to the Government Bridge at the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center. The unit is the General Support Maintenance Company of the 4th Maintenance Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, headquartered in New Orleans.