FORT McCOY, Wis. –
Several 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) units helped sustain the fighting force at the Combat Sustainment Training Exercise, or CSTX-22-02, held at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, from Aug. 6-20, 2022.
CSTX planners designed the exercise as a simulated battle-field training exercise to help develop and improve upon rotational units’ collective MOS-specific task objectives. Units trained in an austere environment, complete with live-firing opposing forces (OPFOR), replicating near-peer threats to the U.S. during large-scale combat with multi-domain operations.
Representatives from the 810th Quartermaster Company, 1015th Quartermaster Company, and 398th Combat Sustainment Support Command each said Soldiers greatly improved their base defense skills as their units were attacked by OPFOR multiple times a day over a two-week period. Additionally, junior soldiers refamiliarized themselves with the basics of squad formations, maintaining situational awareness, and communication.
“This was our first field training opportunity since COVID-19 started, so our company had to learn to be effective by getting back to the basics. We had to overcome several challenges of personnel and equipment shortages to get here (at CSTX), which in turn built our team up; from the forming and storming to the norming aspects of team building,” said Capt. Austin Okorn, 398th CSSB S3 Operations Officer.
The 398th CSSB came to Fort McCoy short 20 individuals who would have normally been on their unit manning roster. Because of this shortage, sections were often staffed with only one to two Soldiers. Some individuals even filled roles they were not previously trained in. One example being 2nd Lt. Hope Llewellyn, a newly commissioned officer who had yet to attend her basic officer leadership course, as she leaned forward in her role of the battalion S2 (intelligence) officer. Llewellyn consistently sought advice from fellow officers and read doctrine to ensure she provided accurate information to her leaders. The staff commended her ability to find the answers necessary to solve problems.
Learning from and relying on one another became a common theme echoed throughout the units. “My favorite part of annual training, and of being in the Army, is bonding with the people in my unit, I feel like part of a family here. We got to do our jobs here at CSTX, whereas at battle assembly weekends, we normally only notionally practice our jobs,” said Sgt. Blake Askin, an 810th QM CO water treatment specialist.
The command team of the 810th QM CO praised the benchmarks the company was able to meet. As a water treatment unit, the 810th uses a tactical water purification system (TWPS) to take water from a natural water source, such as a small lake like the one used at CSTX, purifies it as potable water before dispersing to the rest of the battlefield. During the approximate 10 days TWPS was in use, the 810th QM CO produced 71,000 gallons of purified water.
Additional noteworthy accomplishments that the company commander, Capt. Regina Adams, commented on included; improved squad movements and reaction time, high visibility of accomplishments in the field as showcased to numerous general officers, and high morale and professionalism within the ranks.
The 1015th Quartermaster Company experienced similar events and achievements to their sister units. Several company members commended the comradery and the collective improvement of basic soldier skills. They also successfully and smoothly completed their training objective to distribute class IV (construction) material to higher echelons. However, many junior soldiers listed convoy operations as their main highlight during CSTX.
Pfc. Kenneth Rodriguez described the main convoy event as one with four ‘stations’, each with differing scenarios. The convoy journey began with a rescue mission to collect and provide first aid to play-actors, acting as a nearby friendly unit recently attacked. They learned the importance of 360-degree security by their observer coach/trainers (OC/Ts) and moved to the next station whereupon one of the four vehicles in the convoy notionally exploded. This required calling up an incident report and administering first aid. Receiving high praise for their immediate responses, they moved to the next scenario of suspicious activity. Rodriguez learned how to call up an improvised explosive device (IED), but quickly took direct fire and gas from OPFOR. He discovered the gas had a real burning effect to the eyes and throat and rapidly ensured his gas mask was secured. Because the 1015th QM CO reacted so well to the first three scenarios, the OC/Ts gave them an “impossible challenge” of IEDs, gas, direct fire from large forces and M240 machine guns, smoke grenades, and blocked roads. It was an experience he will not soon forget.
The 310th ESC leadership extols the work done by all their represented units at CSTX-22-02 and hopes to continue its attendance in the future.
The units representing the 310th included the 810th Quartermaster Company, 221st Ordnance Company, 1015th Quartermaster Company, 762nd Transportation Company, the 1001st Quartermaster Company, and the 398th Combat Sustainment Support Company.