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NEWS | March 13, 2018

Army Reserve Soldiers, Air Force personnel build a partnership

By Lt. Col. Jefferson Wolfe 7th Mission Support Command

The Army Reserve’s only civil support team started building a new working relationship with nearby Air Force military and civilian personnel.

The Army Reserve’s 773rd Civil Support Team demonstrated their equipment and shared their capabilities during an interactive display with Air Force first responders and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear specialists in the 786th Civil Engineering Squadron.

The event was an opportunity to work with fellow emergency managers who essentially do similar tasks, said Col. U.L. Armstrong, the 773rd commander. Working together helps the 773rd maintain their CBRN proficiency.

“Since they’re so close, it’s a great opportunity to train with them, to establish relationships as well as to work interoperability and discover capability gaps,” he said.

For example, the Air Force has an Explosive Ordnance Disposal capability that the CST does not bring to an incident, Armstrong said.
By working together, the collective response becomes stronger.
“It’s partnership building,” he said. “It’s working with folks that do similar things and enhancing their capabilities.”

“We wanted to do a capabilities brief, at their request, to understand the 773rd team a little bit more,” said Capt. Deno de la Hoya, the 773rd CST operations officer. “It helps us understand the regional partners here.”

The 773rd set up its equipment configured the same way they would during an incident, de la Hoya said.

The Air Force brought their EOD, fire department, emergency managements and bioenvironmental personnel for the meet-and-greet, said Tech. Sgt. Michael Osburn, of the 786th Civil Engineering Squadron Emergency Management Flight on Ramstein Air Base.

“For the Air Force, it shows us that we can reach across to the Army side,” he said. “They bring a new asset and capability to any kind of emergency response that’s a little more mobile than ours.”

The 773rd provides garrison support to the Kaiserslautern Military Community, de la Hoya said. Having a relationship with the units at Ramstein helps the CST develop interoperability for potential emergencies.

Training together builds familiarity, Osburn said.

For example, the Air Force and Army communication and computer systems interface well. The 773rd also brings robust communication and medical capabilities that could enhance the Air Force’s response to an incident, he added.

In addition, the skills of many of the Soldiers, airmen and civilians are complimentary, Osburn said.

“When there’s a manning shortfall, we can definitely help supplement each other,” he said.

Going forward, the units can help each other learn, de la Hoya said.
“We definitely like to work with the Air Force,” he said.

Each unit has different methods of accomplishing similar missions, de la Hoya said.

“That allows us to see what they’re doing and now, in this setting, to talk about potential training opportunities, whether it’s here in Germany or in other countries,” he added.