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    263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command conducts after action review for COVID-19 response efforts

    263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command conducts after action review for COVID-19 response efforts

    Photo By Capt. William Duvall | U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. William Duvall 

    263rd Army Air Missile Defense Command

    U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), South Carolina National Guard, participated in an After Action Review (AAR), May 15, 2020 at the Anderson Readiness Center in Anderson, South Carolina, evaluating the improves, sustains, and lessons learned during their recent mobilization in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Army conducts AARs to analyze a mission, reviewing what went well and what can be improved. This AAR analyzed the unit’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, something that has never been done before.

    “How many of you have ever been involved in a national level mobilization to include 54 states and territories?” asked U.S. Army Col. Stephen Walker, 263rd AAMDC operations officer. “This is hopefully a once in a lifetime, unique response for the National Guard.”

    The AAR analysis was divided into four phases: Mobilization (phase 0), Organize (phase 1), Execute (phase 2) and Redeploy (phase 3). Each phase having its own improves and sustains.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a worldwide pandemic March 11, 2020, triggering the mobilization phase. The unit received its mobilization notification, published their Annual Training orders and began their transition to Title 10 (active duty) orders. During this phase, a significant sustain was the first home station mobilization for a South Carolina National Guard unit.

    “Right from the start there was some concern at upper levels about taking a primary unit out of the National Capital Region (NCR) mission for an unknown amount of time, and determine the risk,” stated U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Timothy Sheriff, 263rd AAMDC commander. “We had proven what we could do during Vigilant Shield and now had to show we could do both the NCR mission and the COVID–19 response mission.”

    March 30, the Organize phase was initiated in response to being placed on active duty orders. The Tactical Operations Center (TOC) was fully operationally capable and the transition to 24/7 operations in Anderson was initiated, as the U.S. Army North (ARNORTH) and internal battle rhythms were developed.

    “When our higher (ARNORTH) began running 24/7 operations, we were ready,” stated U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sammy Butts, 263rd AAMDC TOC operations officer in charge.

    April 6, the Execution phase kicked off with the first Mission Control Elements (MCE) movement. Command of the Connecticut MCE was held by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Frank Rice, 263rd AAMDC deputy commanding general, and the Massachusetts MCE was commanded by U.S. Army Col. Richard A. Wholey Jr., 263rd AAMDC chief of staff. These MCE’s in Stamford, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts, provided command and control (C2) and Joint Reception Staging Onward movement and Integration for Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 1, while the 263rd AAMDC also conducted a transfer of authority with 9th Air Force for C2 authority for FEMA Regions 3 and 4.

    “My primary focus is the health and welfare of the team, and setting conditions for the arrival and effective employment of Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force teams,” said Wholey.

    April 26, began the unit’s transition to Redeployment as MCE teams completed their required quarantines, equipment inventories, and daily reporting wrap ups to ARNORTH. This phase allowed supply, personnel, legal, and medical to close out operations in preparation of demobilization.

    “One reason why this mission was a success was the posturing of the unit going into the mobilization,” stated U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Keith Phillips, 263rd AAMDC command sergeant major. “By having a high readiness status, you get to where you need to go.”

    The next phase for the unit is to complete the demobilization process. The 263rd AAMDC will have the opportunity to take the lessons learned and apply them, helping tackle future missions they are tasked to complete and continue to serve the Nation and South Carolina as “America’s Shield.”



    Date Taken: 05.19.2020
    Date Posted: 05.21.2020 08:58
    Story ID: 370324
    Location: ANDERSON, SC, US 

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