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NEWS | July 20, 2018

Ready Force X unit battles fire, elements in tough training

By Maj. Brandon Mace 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

Throughout the month of July, the U.S. Army Reserve’s 900th Quartermaster Company, headquartered in El Paso, Texas, is participating in Combat Support Training Exercise 91-18-01 here. Despite the weather conditions and even a fire, the unit remained focused on mission accomplishment. 

CSTX 91-18-01 is one of many exercises used to ensure today’s U.S. Army Reserve is trained and ready to deploy on short-notice, bringing capable, combat-ready, and lethal firepower in support of the Army and our joint partners anywhere in the world.

“Our mission is to support fuel operations for about 10,000 Soldiers,” said U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lt. Maria Olmos-Abraca, 900th QM CO executive officer. “It’s a lot on my Soldiers, but I know they can do it because I've seen them do it before.”

The 900th QM CO has been designated a Ready Force X unit in the U.S. Army Reserve. RFX units focus their training so they are prepared for rapid deployment in case they are called upon. Olmos-Abraca is proud that her unit was selected. 

“What it means to me is that the Army believes we are ready to get deployed, to do our mission, to support all the other units that are on that deployment,” said Olmos-Abraca. “These Soldiers are trained to do their mission. They enjoy it, they have fun with it, and they are ready to continue.”

Sgt. Scott Partridge, the 900th QM CO’s forward stationery supply point non-commissioned officer in charge, believes a big part of that preparation is a focus on combat-readiness. This kind of readiness goes beyond the training Soldiers receive in their job specialities and speaks to being ready for anything. 

“Combat-readiness means you have trained, you are prepared,” said Partridge, “and inside yourself you are ready to put your knuckles down and do what it takes to get the mission done.” 

During this exercise, a major grass fire in one of the training areas threatened to slow down the training. As a unit responsible for moving petroleum the 900th QM CO is always concerned about the risks any fire poses to their equipment and operations.

“Out here, especially when everything you have says flammable, you see smoke and in the back of our minds we are thinking, are we safe here?,” said Partridge, “but at the same time we had a job to do. Everyone stayed calm and relaxed. We pushed through and relied on the people we knew would take care of it. It didn't slow us down one bit.”

The Soldiers of the 900th QM CO fell back on their training as soon as they saw the fire. Their response reinforces the importance readiness for real world events. Spc. Armondo Lopez, a petroleum supply specialist with the 900th QM CO, shared that the skills he gained in basic combat training kicked in during the fire. 

“In basic they tell you to always keep calm and try to make the best out of everything,” said Lopez. “I think that helped out a lot in being able to take orders in a real serious situation. Our training has let us adapt to everything we need.”

Through it all the 900th QM CO sticks together as a team. Olmos-Abraca says its more than a team, it's a family of 185 Soldiers that have taken the time to get to know each other, not just on weekend battle assemblies, but during the month, and that’s where they gain their strength..

“Our unit is a family,” said Olmos-Abraca. “Sure, they meet up for battle assembly but they also meet up outside, just to come together, so anything that happens, they help each other. I've seen these Soldiers be really resilient, even if they encounter a tough situation, they come up and keep on rolling and enjoy what they do.” 

The 900th 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.