Training now to prepare for the future

By Maj. Thomas Piernicky | 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) | Nov. 22, 2019

HARLINGEN, Texas —

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with the 211th Regional Support Group and subordinate units spent the week training across Southern Texas from Harlingen to Sinton, in preparation for future missions.

Units in the U.S. Army Reserve continuously train to improve skills necessary to maintain readiness.

Soldiers with the 319th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, based in Harlingen, Texas, conducted field training exercises including command post operations, check point operations, and convoy missions from Nov. 15-17, 2019.

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Ruben Gonzalez of the 319th CSSB, led his Soldiers in setting up a Tactical Operations Center field tent which served as the unit’s command post during the training. Gonzalez said the training was essential to ensuring the unit was ready to quickly conduct future operations by familiarizing the Soldiers with their equipment.

“We are doing this to get some experience on how we would set up our TOC out in the field,” said Gonzalez.

Setting up these large tents takes significant effort and teamwork. Gonzalez said that with enough personnel the process can be achieved quickly, which is important when participating in real-world missions where time is critical.

“On average it can take about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the number of personnel you have,” said Gonzalez.

To finish the process quickly, the 319th CSSB Soldiers needed to learn how to properly assemble each section of the tent frame. For many of the Soldiers, this was their first time working with the equipment and they learned that teamwork was the key to success.

“It’s pretty easy when you work as a team,” said U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Julian Tapia, a generator mechanic with 319th CSSB. “You need a team. No one person can do this by themselves.”

After the TOC was established, the support staff occupied it to coordinate the unit’s other training missions. The staff ran Soldiers participating in the checkpoint and convoy operations through scenarios to test their reactions and improve overall efficiency of the team. This is critical as a TOC may be geographically separated many miles from their Soldiers conducting missions, and efficiency means the staff can send support to elements that need it.

While the 319th CSSB was hard at work, another 211th RSG unit was getting after readiness just 140 miles Northeast, in Sinton, Texas. U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with the 851st Transportation Company spent five days running training exercises from November 13-17, 2019, to prepare for a mission to Poland next year. For their training, the 851st TC focused on driver’s training, convoy operations, and vehicle maintenance.

Leading the driver’s training is U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Antonio Lonzona, a motor transportation operator and driving instructor. He said the training focused on driver awareness of other vehicles on the highway, crossing railroad tracks, and navigating through urban areas with narrow roads.

“The most important piece of this training is safety,” said Lonzona. “We want to ensure everyone goes home safe to their families and our equipment is safe too.”

To keep their equipment running safely, the maintenance team from the 851st TC spent the weekend conducting annual services on their vehicles. Sgt. Philip Behee, an all-wheel mechanic, said the annual services were a way to keep the M1075 Palletized Loading System vehicles up and running.

“With a crew of four people, it can take a day to do annual services for a vehicle,” said Behee.

As the annual services were completed, the Soldiers of the 851st TC turned to planning the other training requirements necessary to prepare for their deployment to Poland running convoy missions. U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Elias Guerra, the company commander for the 851st TC, said a majority of his unit is complete on getting drivers licensed on military vehicles during their train up.

“Now we can start pushing the ones that haven’t driven that much,” said Guerra. “We will be ready.”

The 319th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and 851st Transportation Company are part of the 211th Regional Support Group, 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), 79th Theater Sustainment Command. The 4th ESC 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.