553rd CSB Battle Staff Training

29 August 2005
Story by Spc. James J. Truitt
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

There is an 'ordered chaos' in the 553rd Combat Support Battalion's tactical operations center and all is quiet. A soldier mans the radio, while other Soldiers prepare reports and others yet track Army vehicles via the movement control tracking system. Suddenly, the silence is shattered by a piercing squawk piping in through the radio causing the room to buzz with nervous anticipation.

A frantic male voice is heard from the other end.

"Attention in the TOC! Attention in the TOC! We have two soldiers down! Requesting immediate MEDEVAC!"

While images of a movie or even war may come to mind, this is one of the many training scenarios the 553rd CSB staff reacted to at the Battle Staff Integration Center, here, last Thursday.

"We are trying to prepare, synchronize and train our staff for events that are going to occur," said Maj. Brian McMurry, 553rd CSB executive officer. " It's just a way to gain some exposure for these events before we go."

At the BSIC, units can test and train their battle staff in fictitious real world situations such as reacting to an on-post mortar attack or a roadway IED explosion.

The center is also equipped with technology that would assist them in better command and control and in dissemination of information to the units on the roadways.

"What we have here is a re-configurable TOC that contains digitals systems commonly found in the brigade and battalion level operation centers currently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo." Said Shirley Degroot, BSIC military trainer.

According to McMurry, units who participate in this training come to a better understanding of how their battle staff will react in real world conditions.

"It's a must have." He said. "You learn so much about your staff; what they know and what they don't know."

"It gives us an idea of our strengths and short comings and problem areas. From there we have a better idea of what we need to work on before we deploy."

The 553rd CSB was scheduled to deploy to the Iraqi theatre Wednesday.

The battalion was previously deployed to Camp Speicher, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I.