News: Army South conducts exercise, prepares for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief scenario
Story by Sgt. Tamika Exom
CAMP SWIFT, Texas- Soldiers from U.S. Army South, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, packed up their bags and headed to Camp Swift to set up a contingency command post during a field training exercise (FTX), May 12-17.
“U.S. Army South deployed to Camp Swift to exercise our ability to deploy into Central and South America to provide humanitarian and disaster relief efforts,” said COL Greg Maxton, the deputy commander for the CCP with Army South.
“It’s one of our primary missions that we execute at Army South Headquarters.”
U.S. Army South is the Army service component command for U.S. Southern Command and as such, conducts theater security cooperation with partner nations, in order to enhance hemispheric security and stability. SOUTHCOM’s area of responsibility encompasses 31 countries and 15 areas of special sovereignty in Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
“The purpose of the exercise was to better prepare Army South’s Headquarters to react to incidents of Humanitarian Assistance or Disaster Relief when requested by our Latin and South
American partners,” said Maxton.
Being at Camp Swift gave the unit the opportunity to break contact with the day-to-day operations at Fort Sam Houston. These training exercises provide a unique and challenging environment for Army South. The unit has conducted this type of exercise here at Fort Sam Houston, at Camp Bullis and as far away as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This provided a unique and challenging environment for Army South.
“Communications was a challenge for us since we didn’t have the backbone of what’s provided at Fort Sam Houston,” said Maxton. “Soldiers were faced with the challenge of being by themselves, sustaining and training themselves, and keeping the focus on what we wanted to accomplish out there.”
With hurricane season being less than starting June 1, if a request were to come to the U.S. government requesting assistance, Army South would have little notice and would deploy the CCP as the unit did to Haiti during Operation Unified Response.
In January 2010, following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti, U.S. Army South deployed as part of Joint Task Force-Haiti in Operation Unified Response, which provided military support to the international disaster relief efforts in Haiti.
“Through this FTX, we were able to deploy the command post, establish communications and exercise staff processes to significantly improve our abilities. Additionally, we identified focus areas where we could continue to improve after the exercise and develop training plans to support this continued progress,” said Maxton. “In the end, we will gain efficiency so we can all do our jobs better.”
This work, Army South conducts exercise, prepares for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief scenario, by SGT Tamika Exom, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.