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    Connecticut National Guardsmen become part of the Contingency Response Force.

    Connecticut National Guardsmen become part of the Contingency Response Force.

    Photo By Sgt. Matthew Lucibello | U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Oliver Simon, a military intelligence officer assigned to...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Matthew Lucibello 

    130th Public Affairs Detachment

    HARTFORD, Conn — Soldiers from the 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion are no strangers to handling a variety of missions. However, this may be their most important mission yet.

    In downtown Waterbury, on Field Street, stands a 101 year old red brick building. This is the home of the 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, also known as the 143rd CSSB, of the Connecticut Army National Guard, known by their motto: “Sustain the Sword”.

    The CSSB’s role is to sustain the fight, to handle the much needed but rarely seen logistics of Army operations. This means providing and distributing supplies, from ammunition, meals, and water, critical to soldiers conducting combat operations, to the lesser talked about but equally important toilet paper and hand sanitizer, among others.

    Previously, soldiers of the CSSB deployed to Afghanistan and Poland and conducted these missions in an expeditionary fashion. In recent times, the CSSB used their skills and assets to help distribute COVID relief supplies such as N95 masks and COVID-19 test kits. Now, they are preparing to aid as part of the Contingency Response Force.

    The Contingency Response Force, or CRF, is the designation given to a unit that is intended to be some of the first boots on the ground in the event of a natural disaster or conflict. As a CRF, the CSSB would set up the first operational logistical node and provide support to follow on units as they filter into the area of operations.

    “We would be their logistical coordinators,” explained 2nd Lt. Oliver Simon, the battalion military intelligence officer. “We’d be helping to get fuel to the frontlines or getting water and ammunition to the infantry units that need it that are short.”

    The CSSB’s would not be the ones driving supply trucks to the front or handing out relief supplies at community centers, however. They would act as enablers by leading and directing sustainment units, keeping records, tracking distribution and creating orders and plans to facilitate supply movements

    “We’ve got to forecast out because you can’t wait until you’re black on (out of) ammunition,” said Simon. “You’ve got to provide a steady chain of resupply, and that goes for fuel, water, food, anything you need”.

    With this designation comes a definite change of pace and implementation of the battalion’s capabilities compared to how they have been utilized in the past.

    “Now it is completely different with the CRF mission,” continued Simon. “We’re very busy developing intelligence products, developing logistics products, trying to produce an order, as I said, to tell the unit what to do.”

    In addition to developing these products and creating operations orders, the battalion has been deep diving into the military decision making process, or MDMP, performing staff exercises, and working around the clock both in Waterbury and at training sites around Connecticut, such as Camp Nett in Niantic, to prepare.

    “Every month we set up our command post, our TOC (Tactical Operations Center),” said Simon. “Consisting of three different tents, they’re about the size of this room, they’re quite big”.

    Tactical Operations Centers, or TOCs, are important because they allow the battalion to have a dedicated area to operate out of. Here, officers and enlisted soldiers of the staff sections can perform all the operations needed to ensure logistic operations run smoothly while in the field, usually in austere conditions, without any degradation in capability. These TOCs are also rapidly deployable, fieldable and relocatable.

    “We have to be able to jump TOC, essentially pick up and leave at a moment's notice,” Simon continued. “We got a CP going, we got operations going, we get intelligence that there’s a quick reaction force nearby, an enemy unit that’s going to attack; we’ve got to be able to pick up and move within 90 minutes and get set up, in a completely different spot”.

    To make sure the CSSB is ready for the task, the 143rd Regional Support Group, the CSSB’s higher headquarters, has also been keeping close tabs and monitoring their progress.

    “We’ve got an operational inspection program where the brigade requires us to meet certain criteria as a unit, so they’re looking at us more closely,” said Simon. “They’re analyzing, you know, are we doing things up to standard, are we following SOPs (standard operating procedures), are we doing things the right way”.

    In addition to these mission specific tasks, soldiers of the CSSB are still keeping up with their individual soldier tasks and duties. CSSB soldiers have been busy getting range time and earning their weapon qualifications as well as getting behind the wheel and making sure all drivers in the unit are properly licensed and qualified. Soldiers who have yet to become military occupation specialty, or MOS, qualified are also continuing to train with the unit and participate in exercises until they go off for their specialized job training. The CSSB will also be conducting their two week annual training, or AT, on top of these smaller exercises.

    “Our annual training this year is up in Jericho, Vermont,” explained Simon. We’ve got a civilian contracting company that’s going to be coming in from the outside and evaluating us. They’re going to act as the brigade, essentially, and other subordinate units that we would need to work with in order to develop and operate to tell units what to do”.

    Training like this is normal during the run up towards deployment or following a unit becoming part of a response force like the CRF or the Immediate Response Force, a rotational brigade combat team response force that is capable of deploying troops within 18 hours. Every soldier in the battalion is aware of how important their role is and many have been working overtime to ensure the unit is ready.

    “It gets taken for granted a lot because we are behind the scenes,” said Simon. “If you don’t have supply and you don’t have that steady flow, then you can lose a war.”



    Date Taken: 02.18.2022
    Date Posted: 02.18.2022 19:07
    Story ID: 414966
    Location: NIANTIC, CT, US 

    Web Views: 395
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