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NEWS | July 9, 2015

Making it count

By Story by Staff Sgt. Melissa McGaughey 9th Mission Support Command

"Sir, the number of personnel on the ground is 4,721. In the last 24 hours we received enemy contact at two locations within Task Force Bayonet. Seventy-nine Soldiers are being treated, 14 have been medically evacuated. Currently we are still operating at full strength. There are no additional issues. For the next 24 hours, we will continue to monitor any developing situations. Pending any questions, this concludes my brief."

There are no further questions. Spc. Moya sits down.

While the words may sound simple, a vast amount of work goes on behind the scenes in order to create an accurate picture of the battlefield.

In the United States Army, that work is done by human resource Soldiers in the S1, the Army equivalent of a personnel section. 

Spc. Donna C. Moya is one of those soldiers serving in the 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade during their annual training, Exercise Imua Dawn, here. 

Imua Dawn is a Command Post Exercise created specifically for Maneuver Enhancement Brigades. The exercise covers the fictional island of Tembago, and is designed to replicate the Pacific Command area of responsibility and exercise the brigade-level staff. Within the exercise, the S1 must maintain accountability of almost 5,000 troops operating over a simulated battlefield of over 236 square miles. Moya’s job is to make sure the numbers add up.

Moya joined the Army as a mechanic in 2010. After getting out in 2013, she decided to continue her military career by joining the Army Reserve. In February of 2014, Moya joined the 303rd MEB as a human resources specialist. 

Within six months of joining the 303rd MEB with a brand-new job, Moya accompanied the 303rd MEB to their annual training, a Combat Support Training Exercise, which took place at Fort Hunter Liggett, California.

It was Moya’s first opportunity to see how a human resource specialist would work in a forward-deployed environment. 

“At first, I found it different, going from turning wrenches to typing,” said Moya. “It was a huge change for me.”

She spent most of her time learning the roles and responsibilities of her new position. In addition to the new work environment, Moya also had to deal with the simulated battlefield. 

She recalled an incident, last year, when the base was attacked by mortars. 

“I never had that level of realism in training before. Even on active duty, I didn’t have training like that,” she said. “It was very different.” 

This year, Moya has found her rhythm. 

“I’ve gotten so much more proficient than last year,” said Moya. “This year I have perfected my ability to do my job.” 

During exercise Imua Dawn, Moya is responsible for receiving and maintaining the personnel status from every subordinate unit in the 303rd MEB’s area of operations. 

“We keep accountability of all the down-trace units, and their subordinate units,” said Moya. 

It sounds simple, but accountability means more than just tracking numbers on paper. 

“You’re not only accountable to the commander, you’re also accountable to the American public, to the families,” said Lt. Col. Daniela A. Allen, the senior human resource officer for the brigade. “They need to know their loved ones are being taken care of while they do their job. Accountability is so critical.”

For the S1, that means constantly monitoring the movement of every single Soldier. Luckily, putting all the pieces together comes naturally to Moya. 

“I really like problem solving,” said Moya. “For me, it’s fun. It’s a lot like solving puzzles. You have to figure out the numbers.”

Chief Warrant Officer Eric P. Hollis, a human resources technician in the 303rd MEB and Moya’s supervisor echoes that sentiment. 

“She’s on point,” said Hollis. “The S1 is all about the numbers, and a lot of times they don’t add up. Spc. Moya has the ability to go in and find the missing piece.” 

In addition to tracking the numbers, Moya also prepares the daily brief for the commander which is an integral part of what the S1 does. 

“You give the commander a picture of who he has on the ground,” said Hollis. “That picture is what allows him to make decisions.”

And now, most importantly, Moya is also filling the role of mentor and trainer. 

“Now I get to give back,” she said.