The Road to Awesome: Strong start at the 99th DIV(R)

By Sgt. Bethany Huff | 99th Readiness Division | Oct. 4, 2018

JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — Soldiers from the 99th Readiness Division are ensuring that they do their part to keep Soldiers within the formation capable and combat ready. 

The 99th DIV(R) Soldier Readiness Improvement Program launched “The Road to Awesome,” which includes 13 different events spread over six different locations within the division’s footprint. 

“The [team] provides Soldiers with access to care, which is not normally accessible through their unit,” said Staff Sgt. Dennis Turner, the personnel noncommissioned officer in charge of the SIRP. “It’s a one-stop shop, which offers the commanders a snapshot of their Soldiers’ personnel and medical readiness in one day.” 

While one day does not seem like a lot of time, Turner reported the events are very successful. He stated that the event can typically service 250 Soldiers in one day.

“We hope to push through at least 6,500 Soldiers through the next fiscal year,” said Turner, a Philadelphia native. “This number is based off the events and days scheduled throughout the fiscal year.”

In the most recent SIRP event at the Joint Readiness Center located here, 191 Soldiers received various services. The SIRP team completed or verified over 649 services for the Soldiers in attendance. These services not only included medical services; Soldiers had access to personnel, on-site lawyers, chaplains and retention services. 

Accomplishing these types of numbers is no easy feat. Turner explained that some of the biggest challenges the team faces are communication with the individual Soldiers or Soldiers not able to attend the event for an unforeseen reason. This doesn’t keep the team from making huge strides of success.

“Soldiers who typically come through our events feel a sense of self-accomplishment,” said Turner. He went on to say that there are many times where this SIRP event helped to identify issues that the Soldier’s unit is unable to assist with or have answers for. 

“Members of our SIRP finance team have found Soldiers owed money, while some other Soldiers are able to utilize our personnel services to clear up issues they can’t at their home unit,” Turner added. 

The SIRP events spearheaded by the 99th DIV(R) help to make Soldiers mission capable and ready to deploy within days or months, as opposed to the previous model of months and years. This program not only improves the readiness of the Soldiers within the division but gives commanders valuable information about their troops. 

“Our events give the commanders and first sergeants a snapshot of their Soldier readiness,” added Turner. Soldier readiness is where the command team can see which Soldiers are deployable or not due to medical, personnel issues, legal, etc. “Having that information, the unit will be able to further request personnel, if needed, in a timely manner.”