WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- Individual mobilization augmentees assigned to the 599th Transportation Brigade stopped by brigade headquarters for training and familiarization April 17-20 on their way to an exercise.
"It is great to have them here," said Casey Carr, 599th deputy to the commander. "They play a critical role within this command, and we want to make them feel that they are part of the command. Bringing them here to do training allows the IMAs to integrate holistically into the unit."
Reserve Col. Anthony Aquino, 599th deputy commander for mobilization, said he has been an IMA with the brigade for more than 10 years.
"This has been fantastic," he said. "Not only did the training foster new relationships, it also cemented old ones. We've never felt better about the support from the brigade staff."
Reserve Lt. Col. James Congrove has been an IMA with SDDC since 1998, 16 years of that with the 599th.
"I have a good feeling about where the involvement of the IMAs is headed," Congrove said. "The command realizes the IMA population is part of the brigade and wants to incorporate us into to the total force integration concept.
"You could tell there was some planning that went into this on the brigade's part," he added. "The in-processing piece was seamless. Couldn't have been better. Some things that the command needs to do with Reserve soldiers are much easier in a face-to-face setting."
Reserve Master Sgt. Eugene Shiner came up with the original idea for the training.
"I proposed the idea with the command sergeant major and the operations officer during the last exercise," he said. "It worked out great. Once it was approved, we put together an agenda. It's a great kickoff for the exercise."
"We are focused on being trained and ready," said Aquino. "And without a doubt, this visit enhanced our state of training and readiness."
Besides catching up with their annual training and medical requirements, IMA Soldiers underwent an Army Physical Fitness Test while they were at the headquarters.
"The headquarters Detachment commander and first sergeant put on a flawless APFT," said Aquino. "I have not done pushups in grass with the morning dew in almost 15 years. It was definitely 'Hooah!"
Shiner will remain at headquarters to work total force integration.
"During the seven months I'm here we'll create policy and procedure for supporting and supported units," he said. "My role now is the TFI program coordinator for the 599th and part of my job is to work with military heath readiness at Logistics Health and the Human Resources center on behalf of IMAs and the Army and Navy Reserve Units in SDDC."
"I think that the command as a whole has pointed itself in the right direction with regard to the IMAs, and I'm looking forward to how it continues to grow with regard to the brigade and soldiers," said Congrove.