Tuesday, May 30, 2017 –
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — New command team leaders, assigned to the 85th Support Command, sat shoulder to shoulder to gain a better understanding of what was expected of them as they lead their battalions and take them forward in readiness, May 19, 2017.
The Army Reserve’s 85th Support Command, partnered with First Army, an active component command headquartered at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, held a New Command Teams Orientation brief on May 19-20, 2017, to elaborate on expectations from the leadership of the logistic and training support battalions and brigade support elements; and to understand the processes and support network available to them in their readiness efforts.
“You are the tip of the spear,” said Brig. Gen. Frederick R. Maiocco Jr., Commanding General, 85th Support Command. “In an era of persistent conflict, in an era of home-grown terrorism, in an era of significant challenge on the international stage, it’s absolutely imperative that our nation have a strong and viable military. The Army is at the core of that mission, set with the job of fighting and winning the nation’s wars.”
The briefing provided insight to leaders, assigned to the 85th Support Command, to understand the unique partnership between the 85th SPT CMD and First Army. Maiocco stated that more than half of First Army’s structure is made up of Army Reserve units.
“60 percent of First Army is the 85th,” shared Maiocco.
The orientation also allowed new leaders to ask questions and gain clarification on how to make things happen in their unique active and reserve partnership commands.
“This is a great way for the command to let us know what they expect from us,” said Lt. Col. Augusto Villalazhiguero, Commander, 2nd Battalion, 345th Regiment, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. “This type of training gives us both sides of the coin. What the active side expects out of us and what the reserve side expects.”
One theme rang loud and clear through the drill hall, maintaining and strengthening readiness requirements among all Soldiers.
“Acknowledging the differences between the reserve and active components, but understanding how the components need to work together to improve the readiness training is what this conference is all about,”explained Col. Shawn Klawunder, Chief of Staff, First Army. “Everybody will leave here better off for what they have experienced.”
The battalions assigned to the 85th Support Command are in charge of helping support the missions given by First Army, meaning they are in a position to ensure Soldiers are trained to the highest level with the best available training. Command Sgt. Maj. Vernon Perry, Command Sergeant Major, 85th Support Command, used a story to explain why their role is so vital to the mission of First Army.
“The Soldier breached through a door. As he did, an enemy on the other side fired at him, but because the enemy isn’t as well trained, he hit the door frame above this Soldier’s head,” explained Perry. “Because of the training, the Soldier did as he was trained to do. Engaged the enemy quickly, and was able to come home. This Soldier is my son.”
The command teams in attendance shared that they take their mission personally, and will give every effort to ensure all Soldiers have what they need, should they be called upon. One leader explained that Soldiers need to be ready to fight tonight, and should the need arise the first Soldiers to be mobilized would be greeted by the 85th SPT CMD at the Mobilization Force Generation Installation. There, the 85th SPT CMD would ensure those deploying forces have all the resources and training to execute their missions.
“We go on the first planes to those MFGI’s and receive incoming Soldiers,” explained Col. Robert Cooley, Deputy Commanding Officer, 85th Support Command.
Cooley discussed the reality that could easily set in with current and potential rising conflicts.
“If you look at any newspaper or on the television, there are multiple concerns throughout the world,” said Cooley.
Many of those in attendance left stating that they felt better having a clear idea of what was expected from them and how the 85th SPT CMD and First Army partnership works. Many of the leaders in attendance felt that they now have a clearer view of how all the pieces work together, and after this brief they feel more confident to accomplish their goals and support the missions of the 85th SPT CMD and First Army.