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    A Box Within "The Box"

    A Box Within "The Box"

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Armando Vasquez | Sgt. David Exantus, right, a human resources specialist, 42nd Regional Support Group,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Armando Vasquez 

    New Jersey National Guard   

    “The Box” at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Johnson, Louisiana is a training range on the installation where brigade-sized elements (between 4,000 to 6,000+ soldiers) and multinational units come to train through a 14-day realistic battle with simulated combat scenarios.

    The New Jersey Army National Guard’s 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team entered “The Box” on May 29, 2023, to begin their 14-day training as part of JRTC 23-08 rotation. Staying behind in North Fort Johnson were more than 100 Soldiers from the 42nd Regional Support Group, Medical Command, Joint Force Headquarters, and 57th Troop Command. They stayed in a different box, as part of the Army exercise support group (ESG), also known as the White Cell.

    “Their mission is to provide a stable foundation and valued resource that commanders and Soldiers in “The Box” can utilize in times of need,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Salvani, Rotational Support Cell officer in charge, 42D RSG. “The ESG is tasked with performing the division's day-to-day administrative and personnel tasks, freeing the brigade staff to train during their JRTC rotation.”

    Having arrived at JRTC between May 18-19, these Soldiers quickly set up command and control functions for the arriving troops from the 44th IBTC and other National Guard units from various states that were supporting the training exercise.

    “The S-1 section scanned thousands of CAC (common access cards) cards to ensure accountability of arriving personnel,” said Sgt. Maj. Saso Zafirovski, Rotational Support Cell non-commissioned officer in charge. “And they will do it again on the way out.”

    Soldiers with expertise in human resources, transportation, network systems, medical, and culinary skills were the backbone of the White Cell, ensuring that the Soldiers in “The Box” can focus mainly on their training mission.

    “This is why we sent the RSG: because we know that this is what you do so well,” said Brig. Gen. Robert W. Hughes, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General-Army, New Jersey National Guard. “Moving the bulk of things and people – it’s really an amazing thing.”

    The White Cell provided support by transporting injured Soldiers from inside and back to The Box via 24-hour operations that required the transportation section to be on call for possible transportation requirements in the middle of the night. Working together with the transportation section, medics from NJARNG MEDCOM provided sick-call operations, as well as administered emergency medical care for Soldiers in The Box and those staying back.

    “It’s a state effort,” Hughes added, referring to the MEDCOM and JFHQ augmentees and the Command Chaplain’s inbound visit to the White Cell. “And we have the best team in the Guard.”

    According to Zafirovski, more than 1,000 Soldiers were attended to by the medics at the JRTC Aid Station – Rear. Additional functions within the White Cell included administrative and food service operations. These functions included processing Red Cross messages, emergency leave requirements, personnel accountability, and the feeding of Soldiers. A task made more complicated because of the constant fluctuation of Soldiers coming in and out of The Box.

    “In order to be successful in “The Box” you must have a highly motivated and capable support system,” said Salvani. “Soldiers in the White Cell provided that capability and skillset so that Soldiers are positioned for success on the battlefield.”

    “All roads lead to the White Cell,” said Zafirovski.



    Date Taken: 06.16.2023
    Date Posted: 06.17.2023 09:50
    Story ID: 447332
    Location: FORT JOHNSON, NJ, US
    Hometown: ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, US
    Hometown: SEA GIRT, NJ, US
    Hometown: SOMERSET, NJ, US

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