News: Third Army/U.S. Army Central trains for emergency response
Story by Spc. Deborah Ledesma
By Spc. Debrah A. Robertson
40th Public Affairs Detachment
KUWAIT — Two nations are in a complete upheaval. Warring continues, and humanitarian aid is desperately needed after one of the warring nations is struck by an earthquake.
U.S. forces then step in to coordinate a multinational relief effort and to bring peace to the region through strategic planning and execution.
Although this is just a training scenario, the Early Entry Command Post exercise at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in late January trained Soldiers in Third Army/U.S. Army Central to respond quickly and efficiently to such an event during a time of crisis.
As the only deployable Army level headquarters, Third Army/USARCENT must remain a highly mobile command post and must be ready at a moments notice, said Lt. Col. Nathaniel Farmer, a current operations officer with Third Army/USARCENT.
"Third Army is a deployable headquarters postured to deploy at anytime, wherever, whenever we're called," he said.
Whenever a situation arises that requires emergency military intervention, Third Army/USARCENT deploys the Very Early Entry Command Post, said Farmer, a Vine Grove, Ky., native. This highly mobile operations center is designed to establish a site for the future command facilities during the most dangerous time of war or humanitarian effort. Situational awareness is at its peak during this time.
The EECP soon follows, once a site is established, which allows Third Army/USARCENT to implement its staff, he said.
The training that Third Army/USARCENT Soldiers receive at Camp Buehring prepares them for real world situations, said Lt. Col Bert Robbins, a Civil and International Military Affairs chief with Third Army/USARCENT.
The EECP system consists of several compact units that can be packaged and shipped to locations around the world.
"If called to a real world situation, like Pakistan and the earthquake in Malaysia, we can deploy this asset," said Robbins, a Bellhaven, N.C., native. "That's why we continue these exercises."
During an actual situation, Third Army/USARCENT would work with all the military branches and coalition forces. To make the situation more real, the scenario simulated other military branches to incorporate each service.
The scenario also called upon the use of real-world time to add as much realism as possible, said Robbins.
"This helps to have Soldiers with experience," he said.
If a situation is not likely to go as the scenario suggests, continued Robbins, experienced leaders step in to incorporate the realism, whether it be to add time to a given situation, like the amount of time it would really take to get supplies to areas with limited access, or to add a level of difficulty to working with uncooperative communities.
"If there's a weakness in the scenario," said Robbins, "that throws up a red flag."
Third Army/USARCENT also incorporates units that would support its command mission in a real world situation in the scenario as well, said Staff Sgt. Joseph Gonzalez, the Tri-band satellite terminal team chief with the 385th Signal Company.
"If they roll anywhere, we're right there with them," Gonzalez, a South Lyon, Mich., native, said of his Third Army/USARCENT counterparts.
"This is good training of Soldiers on trouble shooting," he said.
EECP training prepares the U.S.'s only deployable Army headquarters to do its job as soon as boots hit the ground—no matter where those boots are.