DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA -- Soldiers of the headquarters and headquarters company, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command are known for taking care of Team 19 using administrative skills in an office setting. However, the fighting Eagles showcased their tactical capabilities by establishing a robust forward command post during 19th ESC's two-week combined training exercise.
Capt. William A. Bishop, commander of HHC, 19th ESC, didn't waste time organizing his team of outstanding Soldiers to build and sustain a forward command post full of training opportunities.
"The forward command post provides an additional mission command capability or option for the 19th ESC Commanding General. It creates flexibility as opposed to our current, fixed command post here in Area IV," explained Bishop. "Additionally, the FCP enhances the ESC's ability execute principles of sustainment such as integration, responsiveness, and anticipation."
HHC's mission was not as simple as setting up a few tents in the field. Rather, the multifaceted mission encompassed a wide range of on-field training events. Soldiers were involved in every step of the process from convoy missions to base defense drills and video teleconferences. The complexity of mission required all 36 members to perform at the highest level.
The first step of the FCP exercise was safely reaching the site with all the necessary supplies and equipment. 1st Lt. Walter L. Vanaman, executive officer of HHC 19th ES, organized a convoy to navigate from Camp Walker to Camp Carroll through civilian traffic while carrying personal and equipment. All the while, maintaining accountability throughout the duration of the trip. The convoy consisted of seven HMMWVs, two LMTVs, and one trailer, all of which were operated by the Soldiers of HHC. Vanaman considered the mission's biggest obstacle the narrow streets of Korea and unpredictable civilian traffic. However, through careful planning and smooth execution, the convoy was able to safely reach its destination within the planned time frame and with zero incidents.
For Soldiers of HHC, HMMWV Egress Assistance Trainer provided an essential training experience. The purpose of HEAT training is to prepare Soldiers for emergency situations where they may find themselves in an inverted vehicle. Soldiers entered a model HMMWV, rotated multiple times to simulate a rollover, and attempted to escape. Through this exercise, Soldiers gained the skills to react properly in such an event, which will reduce injuries and fatalities in real situations.
Cpl. Chan Young Moon, 19th ESC G4 admin specialist, said he enjoyed the training. "It was like riding a ride at an amusement park, but it was somewhat scary imagining this happening in real life. So, it's really important to master this drill to be ready for real life situations."
Once the post was all set up, the focus of the Soldiers shifted to protecting and sustaining the base. Prior to the actual exercise, the Soldiers trained to familiarize themselves with the basic base defense skills on Camp Henry. Fully armed, Soldiers patrolled the perimeters of the post and practiced securing designated areas. They performed vehicle inspections to further increase the level of security.
On the field, Soldiers engaged in a variety of real world exercise drills. The main gateway to the FCP site was secured by two Soldiers at all times. These gate guards were equipped with radios to communicate with FCP headquarters regarding security checks. During the daytime, 188th Military Police Company visited the FCP site to provide training with their advanced equipment and vehicles, such as up-armored HMMWVs with turrets and Armored Personal Carriers.
Proficiency in weapon marksmanship is a must for all Soldiers. In order to ensure Soldiers are ready to engage any enemy that threatens the security of their command post, HHC held range training at Camp Carroll to hone Soldiers' weapons skills. At the end of the day, 24 firers qualified on the M4 and 5 Soldiers qualified for M9.
"This was no different than the range we usually do, but we want to make sure everybody is on target, especially when we are out here," said Staff Sgt. Roel R. Aflleje, training non-commissioned officer in charge, HHC 19th ESC.
Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear, and Explosives training is another important aspect of base defense drills. Soldiers need to be prepared for any chemical or biological attack. Pfc. Micahel T. Welgosh, CBRN NCOIC, HHC, 19th ESC, led the CBRNE training and instructed the Soldiers on the proper reactive measures of a CBRN attack. Soldiers experienced first-hand a real life gas exposure in the gas chamber.
After a week-long exercise, Bishop and his team returned with satisfying results. The exercise was successfully executed through the teamwork of multiple area experts who came together as a team to support the overall mission. The exercise may be over, but the team believes that the confidence and camaraderie they built as a team will remain strong.
"I would say the biggest achievement was transforming the FCP from a "tasking" to a Team! The Deputy Commander, COL Lawler, was key in this process. He gave the new FCP teammates the "why": showing them the bigger picture. He also did what he does best, motivating and energizing. And through the training and tasks we accomplished we emerged together as a true team!" said Bishop.
"Being in the HHC, we don't get out in the field a whole lot. This was definitely a good opportunity to gain more field experience," Vanaman added.
FCP was the proving ground for Soldiers of HHC. The Eagles are proficient warriors ready to carry out their mission on the field.