News: Sustainers participate in Joint Operations Access Exercise
Story by Sgt. Michael Behlin
FORT KNOX, Ky. – The 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) participated in the Joint Operational Access Exercise with Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division from Feb. 8-16.
The JOAX was conducted to train participating units and staff elements to train, fight and sustain the force as a joint task force. Participating with the 3rd ESC was the 11th Transportation Battalion from Fort Story, Va.
Throughout the exercise, the 3rd ESC provided operational level logistics command and control of sustainment and distribution operations.
This task is one that the 3rd ESC is familiar with, having deployed to Iraq, and most recently, Haiti.
“We took advantage of the exercise to conduct an internal staff exercise and to refine our processes,” said Lt. Col. Demetrius Price, the 3rd ESC’s chief of plans and Atlanta native.
Since the 3rd ESC’s deployments to Iraq in 2008 and Haiti in 2010, the unit has seen a tremendous amount of personnel turnover. This JOAX, as with prior training exercise, allowed new personnel to become familiar with the 3rd ESC’s mission and processes.
“There are lots of new faces on our staff and this exercise gives us the opportunity to get to know one another and learn the functions of each staff section.”
As the 3rd ESC’s chief of plans, Price and her team were tasked with the overall planning of the exercise. Members of the 3rd ESC’s plans section conducted many behind the scenes operations to include attending planning conferences and operations briefs.
Price stressed the importance of the interaction created by the JOAX. Often, in a garrison environment, much of the focus of a staff section is on its members and subordinates. This exercise, like many others, requires unit staff sections to work together for the good of the unit.
“When we do these staff training exercises, it gives us a chance to come together to build products and build team camaraderie,” said Price.
During the exercise, the 3rd ESC simulated a deployment of its first wave of Sustainers, Force Package 1. This included the set-up and deployment of vehicles and equipment.
The daily operations for the 3rd ESC during the JOAX included morning and night shift change briefings, daily battle update assessments to the commanding general, and establishing a common operations picture.
Overall, the 3rd ESC’s leadership was pleased with the JOAX. Now that the soldiers have a better understanding of unit processes and procedures, they plan to use them for future operations and deployments.
“I think this exercise was great,” said Price. "This exercise gave us the opportunity to experience the operations the ESC staff sections would conduct in a deployed environment.”