ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. –
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command hosted their New Command Teams training briefing during their battle assembly weekend with newly assigned active component brigade and Army Reserve battalion commanders, September 21-22, 2019.
“The purpose of the orientation is to ensure a common understanding between the active component and the Army Reserve,” explained Brig. Gen. Kris A. Belanger, Commanding General, 85th USARSC. “And to make sure the new commanders gain an appreciation for the complex relationship between the active component (First Army) and the Army Reserve.”
Command teams from the 177th Armored Brigade, 181st Infantry Brigade and 189th Infantry Brigade participated in the training, along with eight battalion command teams and five Brigade Support Element team liaisons, according to Col. Heath Streck, Deputy Commanding Officer, 85th USARSC.
The Command, at any given time, continually has battalions preparing for mobilizations, on mobilizations or preparing to redeploy.
“The biggest piece, for me, is the coordination it takes to have (several) of 45 battalions deployed, at any given time, and the tremendous coordination it takes to make that happen,” said Streck.
A key benefit from the briefing is to help active component command teams, who have never worked with the Army Reserve, understand Army Reserve systems and processes as they take command within the multi-component partnership between First Army and the 85th USARSC. The unique multi-component formation bonds active component and Army Reserve observer coach/trainer and logistical support battalions under First Army’s active component brigades to support First Army missions. A number of key topics covered during the briefings included Lodging in Kind, and Army Reserve pay and supply operations, specifically Global Combat Support System GCSS-Army, property book.
“GCSS-A is the system of record for everything maintenance. The equipment needs to be accounted for in GCSS-A or else it’s like we are not validating the equipment,” explained Lt. Col. Jennifer Bantner, G-4, 85th USARSC. “If we can’t account for using it when we need to use it, the equipment may not work.”
Command Sgt. Major William C. Hicks, 2-349th Logistics Support Battalion, 188th Infantry Brigade, Fort Stewart, Georgia, explained how the information he learned will better help him support his battalion back home.
“I’m still new. Everybody in my battalion recently registered for GCSS-Army. It will help with our maintenance,” said Hicks, a 38-year-Army veteran. “The biggest thing we learned here was Lodging in Kind. Right now the Soldiers stay in barracks with the Georgia National Guard. Now that we have worked out the logistics of Lodging in Kind with the 85th (USARSC), we no longer have to rely on the guard to provide housing for our Soldiers.”
Another valuable part of the training was the opportunity for leaders to build relationships with the 85th USARSC headquarters staff and one another.
“Since I’m new to the 85th, it was good to make the connections with the G-sections and the people I will be working with,” explained Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Peetz, 1-356 LSBN, 189th Brigade, Joint Base Lewis McChord.
Readiness was also an important theme stressed throughout the weekend.
“The first thing I want to touch on is readiness. There is no readiness without people. It’s people first,” explained Command Sgt. Maj. Theodore Dewitt, 85th USARSC. “If a Soldier is not ready to fight, we are not doing our job.”