News: Tough ’Ombres Sustain and Train
Story by Spc. Jeff Shackelford
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. —The 90th Sustainment Brigade has a rich history of serving the Army Reserve. This summer the 90th is keeping that strong tradition alive by playing the role of response cell during Combat Support Training Exercise 91 12-01 at Base Camp Tusi.
CSTX 91 is centered on training units in Train/Ready year three of the Army Force Generation cycle, the process enables the Army Reserve to progressively build and provide manned, trained and equipped units that meet the full range of current and emerging combat requirements.
Col. David M. Hammons, 90th SB commander, views the exercise as an opportunity for the 90th, currently in year two of the ARFORGEN cycle, to come together as an organization.
“My perspective on the opportunity to serve as the higher command for CSTX 91 is that it comes at the perfect time for us at our point in Army Force Generation cycle,” said Hammons.
Serving as the response cell, the 90th provides notional command and control to units participating in the training scenarios.
Hammons said serving as the response cell allows the 90th to exercise its staff processes in a relatively low-threat environment.
“The work we are doing is certainly important in supporting the exercise but it also allows us to exercise our staff in an environment where they can practice their skills and fine-tune their processes,” said Hammons. “The focus of the organization is coming back together to train collectively as an organization for the first time since deployment. “
Hammons said that there is another reason the timing is perfect.
“This training provides us with a building block to come back next year and do well in the Warrior Exercise 91,” said Hammons.
The 90th is developing into a powerful team, the senior NCOs are gathering skills they can apply to future missions and the junior level soldiers have gained a great deal of perspective.
“We are replicating a higher-level staff but the people doing a lot of the work are specialists and in some cases it’s a private first class,” said Hammons. “To me, this lets the lower enlisted put in context what the Army is about; It’s more than marching in formation to the motor pool, they’re now looking at the Army from a higher perspective.”
Sgt. 1st Class David Geer, 90th engineer project non-commissioned officer, said the lower enlisted troops performed well.
“I’m really proud of the way our younger troops have listened to the colonel and actually dug deep and asked the right questions to get the information from the units that we need,” said Geer. “I have seen [Soldiers] grow from, ‘yeah I know what my job is’ to really knowing what a sustainment brigade does.”
Spc. Christine Henegan, Little Rock, Ark. native, 90th Ammunitions stock control specialist, said she gained computer knowledge using the Joint Deployment Logistics Model to track unit numbers and equipment and inject scenarios in to units for game-play and will be ready for WAREX 91.
“I’ve learned things we will be using during the WAREX in March and down range, if deployed,” said Henegan.
Hammons said he is proud of his Soldiers
“They have developed into a team that has information that they not only share, but also analyze and act on, which is a powerful thing,” said Hammons. “This exercise was a great walk phase for us; next year we will be able to run.”
Hammons said a touchstone for him is not only the great team of good soldiers, doing good work for the Army Reserve; it is the great legacy of the 90th.
“This organization did not spring up yesterday, this is an organization that goes back to World War I, that crossed the beaches at Normandy and fought their way across Germany in World War II and that has served the Army well for years as a sustainment brigade,” said Hammons.
CSTX 91 is a sustainment-focused training exercise developed for units in Train/Ready year 3 of the 5-year Army Forces Generation model.
With many of the units participating in CSTX 91 becoming available for deployment next year, the remote training environment at Fort Hunter Liggett provides rugged terrain, realistic training opportunities and living conditions soldiers may face while deployed.