News: 50th RSG arrives at 29th annual Golden Coyote exercise
Story by Spc. Zane Craig
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Soldiers of the 50th Regional Support Group out of Homestead, Fla., will participate in the Golden Coyote exercise in the Black Hills of South Dakota June 8-22.
“For this exercise, the Golden Coyote exercise of 2013, the 50th RSG is the governors cell,” said Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr, commander of the 50th Regional Support Group.
“We have six different (forward operating bases) in the area, each with a FOB mayor and the 50th is acting as governor, so we can provide and receive information about what’s going on in each of the FOBs, so if we need to help them out with the logistics or any issues with their water supply, with their latrines or showers, with the priest being able to get there for religious services, anything that has to do with installation support, that’s what the 50th does,” said the Homestead, Fla., native.
Golden Coyote is different from other large training centers, such as the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., because it is very logistics-centered rather than focused on infantry said Gonzalez-Kerr.
With six FOBs spread out over 800 square miles of training area and a busy training schedule set by unit commanders that includes humanitarian missions to Native American reservations and a full range of warrior tasks, the 89 Soldiers of the 50th will have many challenges to meet coordinating the support effort for more than 3,500 participants.
“If you read the mission statement of an RSG, this is exactly what we do: we take over a FOB and manage it. Golden Coyote is the ultimate logistics exercise,” she said.
An important difference between Golden Coyote and a deployed environment is that while deployed, each FOB is independent. For this exercise information is centralized in one place to maximize the effectiveness of the available resources.
“We’ve had to work hand-in-hand with the 213th RSG to make sure we can meet all their expectations, and that they know we’re here to help and support them, not only getting to the FOB, but anything else their individual units may need to make them successful,” said Gonzalez-Kerr.
The 213th RSG, out of Allentown, Pa., brought their down-trace units to Golden Coyote and will be one of the major units managing FOBs and reporting to and receiving support from, the 50th.
“We’re giving them all the beans and bullets to get the training jumpstarted,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Enrique Mendez Jr. of the 50th.
The leadership of the 50th agrees that coming out of state to train heightens the challenges and boosts the morale and situational awareness of the soldiers.
“It’s definitely a motivator for our soldiers whenever you’re able to get on an aircraft and depart your home station and go into another state: it’s a win-win for the soldiers,” said Mendez, a St. Augustine, Fla., native.
Mendez added that Golden Coyote will allow his soldiers to break out of their compartmentalized sections and see the impact they have on the overall mission and see the value in what they do.
“This is my first time out of state for training,” said Pfc. Gary Diaz Jr., a multi-channel transmission systems operator with the 50th.
Diaz, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, hopes to continue improving his job performance, learn from other soldiers here and gain more experience working on satellites, as this is his first annual training.
The flight from Florida was also his first flight on a military aircraft.
“Very different from a civilian flight, but it was my first time, so it was an awesome experience,” he said, adding that the experience was a motivator that helped put him in a training mindset.
The measure of success at Golden Coyote is mission accomplishment and safety said Mendez, who emphasizes that the 50th is here to support the other units, not to dictate to them.
“We’re definitely poised to have a successful annual training period and looking forward to kicking this off,” he said.
Through extensive planning, communication and organization over the last few months, the 50th has worked to ensure that they, and all the units they support, make Golden Coyote 2013 a success.