At the Ready: 332nd Transportation Battalion conducts Deployment Readiness Exercise

By Sgt. Aaron Ellerman | 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) | Sept. 29, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. — In a rapidly changing world, the ability to deploy at a moment’s notice is paramount to the success of America’s Army Reserve.

In order to validate the readiness capabilities of a unit, U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers conduct Deployment Readiness Exercises – no matter their military occupational specialty or the time of day the call to deploy comes.

The men and women of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 332nd Transportation Battalion arrived at the Rattlesnake Point U.S. Army Reserve Center, Sept. 24, well before the sun came up in response to the DRE Level III call to action.

Despite the humid morning air surrounding the area, the Soldiers arrived with vigor and energy, ready to take on the assigned mission.

“It’s important to ensure U.S. Army Reserve units are prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice with everything they’ve got. They can show up, they can fight, they can communicate and they can win,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Debold, assistant noncommissioned officer in charge of the 332nd’s DRE Level III.

This re-energized approach to readiness is an integral part of U.S. Army Reserve commanding general, Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey’s vision to shape America’s Army Reserve into a more capable, combat-ready, and lethal force.

“The American people expect us to be a ready fighting force. What you’re doing here is part of the beginning of something great,” Luckey told the 332nd Soldiers. “It’s about this tribe getting genuinely ready for combat operations.”

The DRE Level III is a multi-dimensional, real world training event where a unit is notified to mobilize and must become ready to deploy within a 96-hour window. The unit ensures its Soldiers meet the requirements for deployment that include checking medical and personnel records and verifying skill qualification measurements. As soon as individual records are remedied and filed, the Soldiers are deemed ready and may begin conducting operations.

This exercise consisted of a five-day event which incorporated planning, deployment and redeployment phases.

“The DRE is important because it tests our capabilities without doing anything notionally which is more realistic to Soldiers,” said U.S. Army Spc. Sara-Ann Mutter, a transportation management coordinator with the 332nd.

For the culminating event, the 332nd conducted a convoy from its headquarters in Tampa to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, where they loaded two vehicles and approximately 60 fully equipped Soldiers onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane operated by the 315th Airlift Wing. The plane’s flight over MacDill’s airspace provided relatively new Soldiers in the unit a chance to experience military air transport.

“The flight was a great example of how the U.S. Army Reserve trains the way it fights,” said Debold. “It’s one thing to simply load a plane and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. It’s quite another to literally lift off from the ground and experience first-hand the sights, sounds, and smells of an airlift.”

After landing MacDill Air Force Base, the troops transitioned to a site at Rattlesnake Point and established a Tactical Operations Center to begin conducting their assigned mission.

“The DRE is significant as a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier because we don’t do this on a full-time basis,” said Mutter. “It gives us an opportunity to get hands-on experience that we don’t normally get to do on a drill weekend.”

The majority of U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers’ duty obligations consists of training one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, creating many challenges to readiness, which is why the Army Reserve has recently reincorporated DRE events.

During the DRE, Luckey joined, sweated, and flew side-by-side with the Soldiers during the flight portion of the exercise. He stressed the importance of being a team, remaining ready and fit for every mission.

“Everything you have done leading up to today demonstrates your personal commitment to individual readiness,” Luckey said over the plane’s PA system. “What you’re doing today demonstrates the Army Reserve’s commitment to remain the most lethal and capable Federal Reserve force in our nation’s history. That’s how we roll.”

Future DREs are slated for execution by other units throughout America’s Army Reserve during the next fiscal year. They will take the lessons learned from this exercise to improve and adapt the exercise into a new standard of realistic training.