News: 451st ESC participates in exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2013
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Neil Simmons
DAEGU, South Korea – For the second year in a row, Army Reserve soldiers of the 451st Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) of Wichita, Kan., had the opportunity to participate in the largest computer drill in the world; Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2013. The exercise ran from Aug. 19 through Aug. 30. According to U.S. Forces Korea, UFG is a routine joint training exercise carried out each year in the spirit of the Oct. 1, 1953 Republic of Korea – United States Mutual Defense Treaty and in accordance with the Armistice.
The 451st’s mission in the UFG simulation was to provide theater logistical and operational sustainment, joint distribution, as well as reception, staging, onward movement, and integration. Over the span of two weeks, soldiers from the 451st ESC and the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) of San Antonio, Texas, joined thousands of soldiers from the U.S. and the Republic of Korea working side-by-side across the Korean peninsula.
Lt. Col. Chris Baer, 451st ESC chief of operations during the exercise, stated the training provided an opportunity to refine staff processes and work together as a team.
“It’s been a good opportunity to train in a quick paced, high op-tempo simulation of a wartime environment,” said Baer.
Always seeking ways to better fulfill the command's motto of "sustain with excellence," 451st soldiers paired up with their active-duty counterparts in the 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) in Daegu.
Many 451st ESC soldiers brought valuable skill sets and unique experiences from last year's training that they shared to enhance staff operations. Col. Laura Wisch, deputy commanding officer for the 451st ESC, was impressed with the way the 451st ESC staff came together to work as a team.
"I think people learned what each other are supposed to do and gained an appreciation for the other staff member’s role in the exercise," said Wisch. "It gave some of the soldiers who hadn’t been on an exercise more confidence in what an ESC is supposed to do, and how they’re supposed to function. The soldiers who were experienced helped to train and mentor those who had little or no experience at the ESC level."
Each day of the exercise challenged 451st soldiers to find solutions to problems through effective communication both between staff elements and up and down the chain of command. However, cooperation in the exercise was not just within the Army, but also with other services.
Representing this joint aspect to the training was Capt. Marco L. Anich, Marine Forces Korea liaison officer to the 451st ESC. He described his role as a vital link in maintaining awareness between Marine elements in South Korea and the 451st command staff. As his first joint assignment, Anich gained valuable insight into how Army units operate.
“It has been an eye opening experience on lower-level procedures, learning how the Army trains and grows its personnel,” said Anich. “I’ve been impressed with the professional way [the 451st] handled the exercise.” Anich continued, “It has been great to build relationships with these soldiers - very gratifying.”
With the successful conclusion of another UFG, 451st ESC soldiers returned home and will take the lessons from this training and apply them to future training exercises. Soldiers from the 4th ESC are scheduled to return to South Korea next year to continue to build on the relationships formed during this year’s UFG training.