SOUTHFIELD, Mich.— Soldiers with the 645th Regional Support Group hosted Army Reserve Day on Feb. 23 at the Army Reserve Center in Southfield, Mich. The event provided the 645th RSG an opportunity to show local government officials and civilian organizations the Army Reserve’s capabilities in Michigan.
As a result of the new National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 31, 2011, the Secretary of Defense is authorized to call upon reserve component forces in response to a state governor’s request for federal assistance with stateside natural disasters and emergencies. Because of this, the 645th RSG and many other units are showcasing the reserve capabilities, focusing on collaboration between the military components and civilian officials.
“As the [military] force structure becomes stronger, we’ll have to rely on jointness,” said Brig. Gen. Arlan DeBlieck, commanding general of the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Des Moines, Ia., which oversees the 645th RSG. “All of us have capabilities to bring to the table. We just have to use them.”
Soldiers from the 645th RSG and other local units, specifically the 300th Military Police Brigade, 414th Civil Affairs Battalion, 322nd Medical Company and the 486th Engineer Company, displayed the array of expertise in which their units specialize. They set up various stations in the reserve center’s parking lot and inside center facilities. Some of the stations that the civilian attendees observed included a luncheon provided by the unit’s mobile kitchen trailer, a combat medic demonstration, a water purification system, a large fuel truck, military police vehicles, and a military engineer demonstration. This was all in an effort to increase awareness and foster collaboration between the civilian and reserve sectors.
“[Army Reserve Day] gave everyone an opportunity to see what we’re all about, to meet some of our soldiers, and to see some of our equipment,” said Col. Keith Sousa, commander of the 645th RSG. “It’s important for [government officials] to know what our capabilities are, and to ask for us if needed.”
Sousa added that the unit’s extensive planning with the help of several volunteers from outside units are what made the Army Reserve Day as successful as it was. He noted that attendance for the event was good, despite being scheduled on a weekend. Participants also included Brig. Gen. Michael Stone, Assistant Adjutant General, Michigan National Guard as well as the Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for Michigan, Col. Dwaine Warren. Ultimately, the guard and reserve will work together in disaster response and Army Reserve Day served as a platform to build a better relationship between the components.
“A lot of our politicians think [all military components] are all the same,” Sousa said. “Overall, I think we achieved our objectives in displaying exactly what the Army Reserve does.”