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NEWS | May 17, 2019

4th ESC Soldiers support Vibrant Response

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

Members of the U.S Army Reserve 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Operation Sustainment Team, based in San Antonio, Texas, participated in Vibrant and Guardian Response 19 from Apr. 26–May 16, 2019.

Vibrant/Guardian Response 19 is an annual exercise taking place from April 22 to May 22, 2019, at various locations in Indiana and Michigan. It is USNORTHCOM’s largest annual CBRN exercise allowing U.S. Army units to train on disaster response and readiness.

The 4th ESC OST arrived for phase two of the exercise and was tasked with establishing an early entry command post. U.S Army Reserve Master Sgt. Roy Pond, the OST’s current operations NCO, said that the exercise forced participants to respond to unique disaster scenarios helping them prepare for a real-world emergencies.

“The first phase of the scenario simulated a nuclear detonation in Michigan, then the exercise reset for phase two,” said Pond. “In this part of the training exercise, phase 2, the scenario was modified so there were two nuclear detonations one in Michigan and Arizona.”

An operation of this size requires an immense sustainment plan, not only for simulated decontamination, but the real-world mission of sustaining all the Soldiers participating. Pond said that their main focus was managing the flow of sustainment into the area. 

“Our job is to synchronize reception and set the theater for all sustainment. That’s all units, all equipment, we coordinate it all,” said Pond.

With such a large exercise area, that was not simple task. The OST was often coordinating for convoys of equipment and supplies that traveled over an hour to their destinations.

“Units submit requirements for everything from fuel, to food and water, to chemical protective suits,” said Pond. “We validate and coordinate movement through and to their areas so they have what they need to complete their missions.”

U.S Army Reserve Col. Gerald Tucker, the OST’s senior officer, said this kind of training is great for his team. He had done Defense Support of Civil Authority exercises before, but this was the first time he participated with this team. 

“This is the largest DSCA exercise I have participated in,” said Tucker, “but it doesn’t change our support in planning or execution.”

This was also the first time the OST exercised split operations, where a portion of the unit was on the ground in Indiana, while a separate element participated in the exercise remotely from San Antonio.

“Each of our sections has a representative forward and back,” said Tucker. “It’s training like this that allows us to refine and exercise operations procedures, and develop new ones.”

Overall, the entire team sees this mission as a big success, and that is a great because this isn’t the only exercise the 4th ESC OST is working on. As soon as this Vibrant Response ends, the unit starts Ardent Sentry, another DSCA exercise focusing on earthquake response, then later this summer they will assist with the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.

“All the exercises we are participating in are worthwhile,” said Tucker. “We get to interact with other teams, we build real-world relationships, and we are more prepared if something ever happens.” 

The 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) 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.