By 2nd Lt. Jennifer Fulco, 8th Theater Sustainment CommandMarch 26, 2013
CAMP COVINGTON, Guam (March 26, 2013) -- Staying on top of their training and being always prepared, the Forward Support Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, conducted a 48-hour Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise during their deployment at Camp Covington, Naval Base Guam.
The purpose of the training was to prepare the battalion for an emergency mount-out to aid in disaster relief in the Pacific region. The Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise, or EDRE, is a 48-hour drill that tests a unit's ability to prepare equipment and personnel required to respond to an emergency disaster.
The Forward Support Co., or Alpha Company, as well as other companies within the battalion, had to adjust and learn new systems. Ever since arriving to Guam in January, the battalion has worked closely with the Navy Seabees from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five to learn the unit's processes, which are drastically different then the Army's.
The EDRE exercise was designed for a Seabee Battalion which is configured differently than an Army engineer battalion. Despite the services' differences, the two jointly accomplished the mission.
The Seabees have taught and trained multiple Soldiers and sections, creating a remarkable joint environment.
"Although the execution of the Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise was very different from how the Navy conducts it, the end state remained the same," Lt. Brendan Bunn, the officer in charge of the NMCB 5. "Both the Navy and the Army worked extremely hard and gained training and knowledge from this experience."
Alpha Co. consists of logistical sections that focus on maintenance, transportation and embarkations. Maintenance was required to perform technical inspections on each piece of equipment. The transportation section was required to wash, stage, and load vehicles onto trailers, and the last station, the embarkation team, was responsible for the weighing and marking of vehicles. Tracking this information was crucial because the documentation was given to the Air Force to ensure the right amount of equipment was being loaded onto aircraft.
At 3 A.M. on the day of the exercise, the battalion alerted its key leaders and began the process as if it were a real situation. Alpha Co. alerted their sections and began the set-up process for vehicles and equipment to pass through. Teamwork across the board was essential to the success of this practice exercise as many moving pieces had to come together.
"This is a great learning experience," said Staff Sgt. Danielle Quimbley, platoon sergeant and embark supervisor for the Distribution Platoon in Alpha Co. "Soldiers and leaders are able to gauge their capabilities as well as their shortcomings. This exercise will provide positive feedback that will allow the company to improve and make the process better in the future."
By the end of the exercise, Alpha Co. processed more than 45 pieces of equipment and palletized more than 20 containers. The overall goal was met by working day and night and getting all the equipment on the priority list through multiple processes.
"The company was able to get a better understanding and feel for what was needed to conduct an emergency mount out," said 1st Sgt. Pete Leao of Alpha Company. "Our main objective is to push out all the equipment safely and in a timely manner to be able support the operations aiding the emergency situation. We will continue to prepare and always be ready for if and when an emergency does occur in the Pacific."
The overall exercise met the intent of establishing what was required of the battalion in Guam. In addition, every section of the battalion was able to see the areas needing improvement. Conducting the exercise gave the 84th Engineer Battalion a great opportunity to train, improve unit readiness, and understand the overall mission in the Pacific. Undoubtedly, the 84th Engineer Battalion will be fully capable of performing its duties in the event of any emergency event.