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NEWS | Oct. 24, 2018

U.S. Army Reserve pilots Deployment Assistance Teams for RFX units

By Sgt. Bethany Huff 99th Readiness Division

The U.S. Army Reserve recently launched Ready Force X units to allow Soldiers to deploy under shorter time constraints. While the units prepared for their new roles as RFX units, a stop-gap emerged and presented the Army with an opportunity to do what it does best, adapt and overcome to its surroundings. 

The four readiness divisions of the U. S. Army Reserve developed a concept of a Deployment Assistance Team Command and Control Cell. These cells will allow units to focus on assisting Soldiers and placing them where they need to be in a timely manner.

This is where the DAT cell plays such a crucial role; they focus on getting equipment from the RFX unit home locations to the various ports and vessels where deploying Soldiers will be able to obtain their equipment in a timely fashion once they are boots on ground overseas.

The commanding general for the 99th Readiness Division explains to troops within the first DAT cell how the planning team came up with the proof of principle.

“You’re going to come here, your unit will form, and be here for a few days, whenever that is, and then [the unit will] go leave to where their particular mobilization site is,” said Maj. Gen. Troy Kok, the commanding general of the 99th Readiness Division. “But you still have this thing, called equipment, but [the unit] does not have the time or capacity to be able to load it and ship it, and that is the driving factor for what we’re doing here today.” 

While the team has not been officially set, it is testing its capabilities through a series of exercises. The exercises have several scenarios that a unit may face, or assets required of the unit while deployed. 

“This exercise simulates a single unit trying to deploy that has vehicles and equipment in three separate locations that need to get to the port for onward movement,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jon Campbell, a materials handling operator assigned to the DAT for the exercises. 

With the possibility for failure looming over the team, between vehicle change outs, and maintenance issues, the exercise overall proved successful for all involved. 

“We were successful in all three locations, in assisting in getting the equipment moved from point a to point b, simulated,” said the Rockland, Massachusetts, native. “Given the circumstances, of having so many people from so many different units, with a particular handful of skills, they picked the right team for the right job and we got it done.”

As the U.S. Army Reserve continues to define this proof of principle, Kok says that the goal is to have a team located within each readiness division to ensure that units are ready and capable to fulfill their mission when the time comes.