CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ind. - Nothing brightens a soldier's day more than a letter from home.
During a recent combined training exercise to prepare for their upcoming deployment to the Sinai, soldiers with the 630th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion navigated postal operations as well as other technical and tactical requirements. During the N.C. National Guard unit's upcoming deployment, soldiers must be self-sufficient.
The CTX, held at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., ensured the National Guard soldiers are prepared to deploy to the Sinai as Multi-National Forces and Observers.
The scenario-driven training not only validates deploying soldiers technical and tactical skills, but also provides extensive experience working in a multinational environment, said Lt. Col. Jeremy Jelly, commander of the 1-335th Infantry Regiment, 205th Infantry Brigade, Camp Atterbury Ind. Postal operations is just one of the missions the Soldiers will be responsible for on their deployment.
The First Army Division East trainer-mentors, assigned to the 205th Infantry Brigade, strive to ensure deploying soldiers receive the most realistic, relevant training possible. Using scenario-driven training forces deploying soldiers to find resolutions to challenges in similar environments and conditions they'll face when they deploy.
One of the biggest challenges, according to Jelly, is communication.
"The way people communicate varies widely between, and even within, cultures," Jelly said. "It's about getting them out of the classroom, past the power point, and into the battle space."
During their upcoming deployment, the North Carolina National Guard unit will help supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace and ensure no one violates the terms as Multinational Force Observers mission. Established more than 30 years ago, the MFO is an independent international organization, of 12 contingent nations, specifically created to oversee compliance of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979.
"It's giving us real world examples, letting us analyze the information, and review it to make sure we are on track," said Maj. Robert Prout, support operations officer for the 630th CSSB. "If you actually have to stop and go through the process, it enables your learning."
Prout, from Fuquay-Varina, N.C., said there was a huge difference in the training he received for his deployment for MFO compared to the training he received in 1995 for Bosnia or in 2004 for Iraq.
"Now, it's more refined, more specific, more relevant," said Prout, a logistics officer.
The unit will be responsible for overall command and control of sustainment operations, which includes postal service support and transportation for 12 contingent nations in the Sinai Peninsula. This support includes mortuary affairs.
Spc. Robert Rockhill, a mortuary affairs specials and combat medic, said the trainers helped him prepare for the emotional and physical reactions he might have while doing his job.
"We were never just thrown out there. The training was done in a very logical way; there was a crawl, walk, run phase to the training." said Rockhill, from Chapel Hill, N.C. "It also gave me an opportunity to see the administrative side of what I'm going to be doing in Egypt."
Each country has different protocols and procedures, added Rockill, a student at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in health promotion.
"I believe this training is preparing me to be self-sufficient; however, also teaching me how to ask for assistance when necessary," he said.
The 205th Infantry Brigade, part of First Army Division East, mobilizes, trains, validates and deploys Reserve Component units to support overseas military operations. Along with Reserve component units, the division's trainer/mentors prepare and deploy sailors and airmen, along with selected members of the interagency and intergovernmental departments, to provide trained and ready forces across a full-spectrum of operations to regional combatant commanders worldwide.