13th SC(E) Conducts Final Push Toward Deployment

Story by Pfc. Crystal Eldridge
13th SC(E) Public Affairs

The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Headquarters began its final deployment preparations here Friday with a major command post exercise.

The mission rehearsal exercise provides the command its final opportunity to exercise the command and control systems it will use to lead as many as 26,000 Soldiers in Iraq while executing its highly complex logistics sustainment mission.

The hub of activity during this exercise is the SC (E)'s Joint Operation Center. Led by the 13th SC(E) G-3 operations and G-6 communications sections, staff elements created a JOC on Fort Hood that closely resembles what they will use in Iraq.

The 49th Movement Control Battalion and 4th Corps Materiel Management Center were integrated directly into the JOC to simulate their wartime mission.

Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry welcomed the new III Corps commanding general, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno Sunday and briefed him on the 13th SC (E)'s mission and ongoing operations.

Odierno stressed the critical role logistics will play in Iraq as operations evolve and battlespace is turned over to Iraqi forces.

Terry stressed that training Iraqi logistics units would be a key mission for the 13th SC(E).

The MRX culminates more than six months of preparation by the command which included a previous command post exercise in January, multiple video teleconferences with the 3rd Corps Support Command, the unit 13th SC (E) will replace and war trace conferences. This months training also includes two "rock drills," a type of rehearsal exercise.

In January, 3rd COSCOM planners briefed members of the 13th SC(E) on their concept of support, sustainment of Iraqi Security Forces, future basing, future force structure, and a myriad of other topics pertaining to operations in Iraq. This served as the foundation for the SC(E)'s predeployment training including the ongoing MRX.

These leaders were planning the transition of responsibility from the 3rd COSCOM to the 13th SC(E), said Maj. Mike A. Tate, plans officer for the 13th SC(E).

While senior staff officers and senior noncommissioned officers focused on the command and control mission, the headquarters company leadership focused on ensuring every Soldier is trained and ready in their individual training tasks.

In addition to classroom training on such subjects as the code of conduct, law of war and media on the battlefield, every Soldier also undergoes rigorous marksmanship training leading to situational training exercises using blank ammunition and culminating in a convoy live fire exercise.

During March, the headquarters' staff and Soldiers of the Special Troops Battalion conducted Military Operations in Urban Terrain Squad Training Exercises, training on four separate tasks including controlling access to an installation, clearing obstacles while mounted, convoy operations in an urban setting, and evaluating and evacuating a casualty at night.

"With the training we're doing we're better prepared to deal with combat situations than we would be if we just spent all our time in our offices," said Pfc. Catheryn M. Shockey, a paralegal specialist with HHC, STB, 13th SC(E).

This training involved everyone who is preparing to deploy with the command - including the command's Deputy Commanding Officer, Col. Christine Gayagas, and the SC(E)'s command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Fountain.

Spc. Jomo K. Washington, an intelligence analyst with HHC, STB, 13th SC(E), said, "I thought it was great that the officers got out there and trained with us." Washington continued, "It gave us a new perspective and extra motivation to go out there and do our best."

Odierno reinforced the importance of individual training telling the staff, "constantly talk with young leaders about standards."

The MRX is also providing the headquarters' the opportunity to fully integrate its all of its Soldiers into its sustainment force. More than 70 Soldiers of the 13th SC(E) Reserve Detachment joined the active component of the command during May and are now working alongside the command's active duty Soldiers.

"I don't care if you are Army Reserve, National Guard or active duty!" Terry proclaimed during an earlier exercise. "We are all one team. We can't operate unless we are all on the same team."


news photo
Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, 13th SC(E) Commander welcomes new III Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno to the 13th SC(E) joint operations center. The 13th SC(E) is conducting its final command and control exercise before deploying to Iraq later this summer. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Adryen Wallace, 13th SC(E) PAO)