POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii –
The Indo-Pacific area of operations covers nearly half of the Earth’s surface. Within this vital region it is imperative that Army Reserve Soldiers are utilized in the most efficient and effective means possible. With the possibility of rapidly emerging threats, Soldiers in the Pacific Theater must be prepared to deploy quickly and decisively from their home station.
The 9th Mission Support Command (9th MSC) spent roughly a week executing a rapid home mobilization rehearsal at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) on the Big Island of Hawaii. The rehearsal prepared Soldiers for mobilization, using Soldiers from the 3301st Mobilization Support Battalion (MSB) and other support staff, to conduct the rehearsal.
“The 3301st’s primary mission is to help mobilize U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers for large scale combat operations,” said 3301st MSB Commander Lt. Col. Tyson Voelkel.
Over the past two decades, Soldiers have grown accustomed to a predictable mobilization process through established mobilization centers at locations such as Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.
However, due to the Indo-Pacific Region size and the nations within it, sudden mobilization of a large element of Soldiers is a vital capability. The concept of rapid home station mobilization is intended to meet U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and INDOPACOM’s need for rapidly mobilized Army Reserve Soldiers, without leaving the Pacific Theater to dedicated mobilization facilities on the U.S. mainland.
As the 3301st commander explained, with the DoD transition out of the Middle East, the nation’s defense initiative is able to shift its focus to threats that exist in the Pacific.
“The Indo-Pacific region is becoming ever more important in the eyes of the national security enterprise,” Voelkel said.
Mobilization stations validate Soldier readiness on a variety of requirements, to include medical, dental, and financial status. The rapid home mobilization station is no exception. In four days’ time, the support battalion processed more than 350 Soldiers through each of these requirements.
“It is imperative for every deploying Soldier to meet all physical and psychological requirements. It is also important that any financial or legal issues are addressed,” Voelkel added.
“In order to engage in large scale combat operations, 100 percent of your fighting force must be focused on individual Soldier readiness,” said Voelkel. “Mobilization stations like this one are critical to the mission of squaring away your Soldiers to keep them ready, focused, and lethal.”
The 100th Battalion 442nd Infantry Regiment (100/442) started their annual training at PTA as the mobilizing force in this rapid mobilization station rehearsal. The rehearsal was evaluated by 9th MSC staff and will serve as a proof of concept for future operations.
“We know that we are going to break things, we know that things aren’t going to be perfect,” said Voelkel. “The commanding general knows this and he wants us to push ourselves and push the limits of the system, in order to refine the process.”
Rapid home station mobilization is the 9th MSC’s way to meet the USARPAC mobilization requirement of all its direct reporting units (DRUs). Furthermore, 9th MSC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Mark Siekman understands the importance of having this system in place in the Pacific.
“The things you would do at places like Fort Bliss, with dedicated mobilization facilities, we will replicate with this rapid home station mobilization model,” said Siekman. “This is all about the concept of how we are going to have to fight with what we have, wherever we are located, based on the adversaries we have in this theater.”