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NEWS | Oct. 17, 2016

New First Army command teams meet with Army Reserve leaders

By Master Sgt. Anthony L. Taylor 85th Support Command

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – First Army command teams from around the country arrived here Oct. 15 for the first portion of a New Command Team Orientation Brief designed to help the active-component leaders better understand processes used by their reserve-component counterparts.

The Army Reserve’s 85th Support Command headquartered here hosted the briefing to provide situational awareness and understanding of how these active-component commanders’ Army Reserve elements operate.

“It’s all about readiness for reserve-component Soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Chris Gentry, First Army’s Deputy Commanding General - Support. “The more the brigade commanders and their teams know about the systems and the processes that are involved for reserve-component Soldiers, the better able they’ll be to get after the readiness of those Soldiers. And readiness equals availability to mobilize.”

First Army has a longstanding history of working closely with the 85th Support Command. The Army Reserve’s training support and logistical support battalions, assigned to the 85th, are operationally controlled by First Army. Newly assigned active-component commanders to First Army learn reserve-component processes to more effectively lead their reserve battalions within this multicomponent structure.

Throughout the two-day Army Reserve portion of the briefing, 85th Support Command directors discussed subjects including the Army Reserve network, Extended Combat Training packets, Total Ammunition Management Information System, Force Structure, logistical support, legal actions and special staff support.

Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Frederick Maiocco Jr., 85th Support Command Commanding General, explained that it is critical for First Army and the 85th to maintain integration, coordination and synchronization of all efforts ongoing between their two headquarters because it all comes down to supporting the Soldiers out in the training lanes.

“It’s real important to have tough, realistic training, and so this coordination effort allows us to better synchronize the support that those Soldiers receive and ensure adherence to Army standards,” Maiocco said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Cheryl Greene, Command Sergeant Major of First Army’s 120th Infantry Brigade, shared that because reserve battalions are located throughout the country, the command teams cannot always be alongside their reserve-component battalions in the way they are their active-component battalions. She added the briefing provided an understanding of nuances and differences with the reserve and active battalions.

Greene said, thanks to what she learned during the brief, she can go back to her unit and communicate better with her reserve-component sergeants major.

“I can now have a better conversation with them in what they are talking to me about.”

In the same building as the new command team brief, Army Reserve training support and logistical support battalions, operationally controlled by First Army, conducted desk-side chats and reviewed slides during a mobilization assessment brief to prepare them for upcoming mobilizations at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas.

The 85th Support Command briefed the participating units on pre-mobilization requirements and training plans. Logistics, Information Technology and Operations staffs were on hand to assist with the pre-mobilization process before the units receive their mobilization orders.

These Army Reserve battalions will be assigned to First Army’s 120th Infantry Brigade at Fort Hood and 5th Armored Brigade at Fort Bliss during their mobilizations later next year and will support First Army’s reserve-component training mission as observer coach/trainers.

According to Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Walter Rodgers, 85th Support Command’s Mobilization noncommissioned officer-in-charge, the mobilization assessment briefs will be conducted every six months so mobilizing units can solidify their battle rosters.

Army Reserve Lt. Col. Jason Grider, Commander of 3rd Battalion, 335th Infantry Regiment, 157th Infantry Brigade, First Army, explained that his unit’s purpose here was to develop training and mobilization plans in conjunction with the 120th Infantry Brigade and 85th Support Command in order to successfully execute their mobilization mission.

“What this mission boils down to is (supporting) tier three units that are preparing to deploy, and helping them develop training plans and processes, so when they go through the mobilization station they are successful and, more importantly, when they get ready to deploy and get overseas, they are ready to execute their mission,” Grider said.

Grider added that his unit’s upcoming mobilization is an opportunity for them to further refine their trade as the premiere trainers of reserve-component Soldiers and units.

“We are an observer coach/trainer battalion,” Grider said. “Our legacy is about the better we train these units, the more successful they are downrange, (and) that means the more successful we were at doing our jobs.”

The work that First Army does with mobilizing Soldiers and supporting reserve-component training is vital to our nation, Maiocco said.“The 85th Support Command staff and our Soldiers are integrated very effectively with the First Army units that are supporting those mobilization platforms. We’re really delighted with the turnout and with the great coordination and cooperation that’s taken place. The briefing will conclude here, but will now continue at First Army headquarters where the conversation will expand on First Army expectations and maintaining close coordination between the staffs.”