News: Force Headquarters Group officially established at MARFORRES
Story by Cpl. Marcin Platek
NEW ORLEANS—Force Headquarters Group was formally activated during a ceremony here, Aug. 6, in which it was officially recognized as a major subordinate command of Marine Forces Reserve.
“FHG has a mission to prepare individuals in units for the augment/reinforce missions,” said Maj. Gen. Tracy L. Garrett, the first commanding general of FHG. “One of the things that happens here is that we build a major subordinate command staff where the folks on the staff here can augment and reinforce other staffs in the event of activation and deployment.”
This MSC was established as a part of the command element for MARFORRES. It was activated July 18, assuming administrative and operational command of six MARFORRES Force-level units: 3rd and 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Companies, 3rd and 4th Civil Affairs Groups, 6th Communications Battalion and Intelligence Support Battalion.
“One of the things that people forget is that a Marine Air-Ground Task Force has four elements: the air, ground and logistics, but they forget about the command element,” said Garrett. “The FHG gives (Lt.) Gen. Hummer his command element.”
Previously, these units reported to Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, the commander of MARFORRRES and Marine Forces North. As a result of the Commandant-directed Force Structure Review Group, the units were realigned under the new MSC to streamline the command and control process, making it more effective.
“As one of the FSRG decisions, we needed a headquarters led by a general officer,” said Hummer.
Hummer explained that as the Mobilization Command was relocated to New Orleans from Kansas City, a requirement for a Force-level headquarters group became evident.
“We just needed to put it together, figure out how it was going to look and what was going to happen,” said Hummer.
With the plan in place, the existing six units were realigned to be part of FHG. Additionally, FHG is set to expand as future FSRG-directed unit activations and realignments are planned, to include Marine Corps Individual Reserve Support Activity (formerly MOBCOM), which is responsible for the 57,000 Individual Ready Reserve Marines.
According to Marine Corps Bulletin 5400, the activation of FHG increases the ability of MARFORRRES to rapidly and efficiently respond to requests for support from active forces across the spectrum of military operations. The FHG will further optimize the Operational Reserve, a concept that was recently exercised in Javelin Thrust 2012.
“While it was (Lt.) Gen. Hummer’s exercise, he needed that command element to facilitate the engagement of the pieces of the MAGTF, that’s what the FHG can do for him,” said Garrett.
Javelin Thrust 2012, the largest annual training of active duty and Reserve forces in the Marine Corps, exercised all elements of the MAGTF under the command of FHG, led by Garrett.
During the activation ceremony, Garrett relinquished command to newly-promoted Brig. Gen. Paul. K. Lebidine, the former chief-of-staff for force command element, Javelin Thrust.
However, being the first commanding general of a newly activated command, Garrett said it was an exciting task.
“It has been great being a part of change,” she said. “The Marine Corps is in a pretty dynamic place right now, and the imperatives of the Force Structure Review Group are compelling. Many of the early winds in that change process are within this command.”