957th QM doing what it takes to be combat-ready

By Maj. Brandon Mace | 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) | June 27, 2018

FORT McCOY, Wis. — Throughout June, the 957th Quartermaster Company, headquartered in Denton, Texas, participated in Combat Support Training Exercise 86-18-04, here, increasing their capabilities, combat-readiness, and lethality in an austere environment.

The 957th QM is one of the U.S. Army Reserve’s Ready Force X units. This means the unit is focused on training and preparing as if they were deploying so that, in the case of a large scale conflict where they were called upon, they wouldn’t require as much time to mobilize. 1st Lt. Gabrielle Sinmaz, the unit’s executive officer, said the Soldiers responded positively when they became an RFX unit.

“What I’m really proud of is when the Soldiers were told we were becoming RFX, instead of questioning or straying away, they owned it,” said Sinmaz. “They want the training. They are working and learning and asking the right questions. They have been shifting to what the needs are as an RFX unit and becoming knowledgeable.”

Sgt. Jason Chavez, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear NCO with the 957th QM, thinks increasing readiness through the identification of RFX units is a great idea. 

“We need to be more ready to deploy,” said Chavez. “Units can take a long time to deploy, but if we do Ready Force the way we are doing it, everyone is training and ready. If we are called upon to deploy we already have Soldiers ready to go.”

At this CSTX the unit leadership made a decision to train on warrior tasks and defensive operations. Sinmaz said it was a big shift when the commander announced that they would be focusing on base defense instead of their primary mission of fuel handling.

“It's something that we don’t get to practice on all the time,” said Sinmaz, “but we need to get better at these basics, like how to set up hasty base defense or a tactical command post, and getting communications set up in an austere environment. We usually don't focus on it when we go out to these trainings because we usually focus on our main job of petroleum supply.”

As a part of their training the unit has had the opportunity to conduct several convoys, both with their real vehicles and in simulations designed to give Soldiers a chance to respond to the kinds of threats they might face in a deployed environment. Master Sgt. Jonathan Bailiff, the unit’s operations NCO, said that convoy training is vital.

“I think that convoys are one of the biggest threats any unit could face,” said Bailiff. “This training will absolutely help develop these soldiers with the best experience whether it be driving or reaction time or contact with an IED.”

Bailiff was grateful for the focus on warrior tasks and defense during this CSTX. With the shift toward readiness, he said it is exactly what the unit needed to round out their capability and awareness. 

“Ready Force means that we are trained and are absolutely ready to deploy,” said Bailiff, “not only to complete the mission of our MOS, but we also must be able to defend ourselves in our area of operation. This kind of training will get us there.”

Sinmaz is impressed with how the unit pulled together for this exercise, and she is confident that the unit is in good hands no matter what the future holds.

“Out here everyone has been great,” said Sinmax. “We are in the field, and that can always be tough, but what I’m really proud of is seeing Soldiers in this unit constantly wanting to get better and taking responsibility for whatever happens next.”

The 957th Quartermaster Company is a part of the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The command is made up of Soldiers, civilians and their families in units headquartered throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. As part of America’s Army Reserve, these units are trained, combat-ready and equipped to provide military and logistical support in any corner of the globe.

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