FORT JACKSON, S.C. –
More than half of all chaplain detachments in the U.S. Army Reserve moved under the 81st Readiness Division on Oct. 16.
Of the 40 total units in the USAR, 22 now align under the Wildcat Nation.
The realignment comes with the added push to ensure all chaplain personnel are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to better meet requirements to support both Army Reserve and active-duty units either as a supplement or to fill a capabilities gap.
The effort, dubbed Operation Evergreen, begins with battle focus training, meeting all typical Soldier individual and collective task training, as well as chaplain-specific training, according to 81st RD Deputy Command Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Robert M. Farmer, who is spearheading the training.
With the detachments coming into the 81st RD fold, that means an additional 60 Soldiers will be added to the roster.
This is where the Mission Support Command Group (MCSG) steps in. They will support the integration with MCSG administrative support and logistical support, according to Maj. Olivia A. Soto, operations officer in charge. This support includes, but is not limited to, legal, health service support, finance, personnel and administrative services, field feeding, unit maintenance, and logistical support.
Though she said the influx of personnel would take some finessing, “we will make it work.”
The move makes sense, according to Chaplain (Lt. Col.) David Brady with the 111th Chaplain Detachment out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina., who was just welcomed into the RD. “Now that we fall under the 81st for command and control, there will be no question if we’re ready to deploy. The training will come down from the Division Chaplain and we’ll be equally trained and monitored through the MCSG, ensuring we check all the blocks down the line.”
Chaplain Farmer agreed, adding that the 81st RD is the ideal location to ensure the detachments are ready and available to meet the Force Generation goals.
“The 81st will set the standard in terms of measurement and interacting with Force Generation authorities,” he said. “The 81st RD Chaplain Section is able to staff these detachments with quality MOS-qualified personnel consistently. The mission requirements to stay up-to-date in personnel, equipment and training readiness are achievable on an annual basis.”
Fiscal year 2021 training is already rolling out to the chaplain detachments and the MCSG has already taken the measures to start seamless integration into the Wildcat Nation, especially those who are tapped for upcoming deployments.
“We’re going to take ownership of everything they do,” Soto said. “It’ll take some work, but we’re excited to have them on the team.”
The 22 chaplain detachments will remain in the dozen different locations they already fell under within the 81st RD footprint, joining the history detachments and public affairs units that make up the unit.