February 25, 2009

Course introduces Guard Soldiers to Army logistics systems

By Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

Logistics Enablers Course in Virginia Beach

Staff Sgt. Neal Dodson (left), Capt. Juanita Fairchild (center), and Master Sgt. Jeffrey Billmyer (right) of the Virginia National Guard learn about Battle Command Sustainment Support Systems Feb. 20 during the Logistics Enablers Course in Virginia Beach. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class, A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — More than 35 National Guard Soldiers from various states gathered at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach Feb. 18-22 for a five-day Logistics Enablers Course.

The course is designed to introduce Guard Soldiers to various Army logistics systems that can be used by Army Guard units either during state scenarios or on overseas deployments, according to Capt. Eric Hopkins, a logistics staff officer from the National Guard Bureau, and one of the instructors for the course.

This was the first time the training was held in Virginia and the majority of the class participants were from the commonwealth. But Guard Soldiers from Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania also attended, said 1st Lt. Eric Quinn, a logistics readiness officer with the Virginia Army National Guard. The attendees ranged from sergeants to colonels and all of them received hands-on instructions in the various systems.

The systems introduced during the training were Battle Command Sustainment Support Systems; Movement Tracking System; Combat Service Support Automated Information Systems Interface; Transportation Coordinators’ Automated Information for Movements System II; 3e Technology International; Portable Deployment Kit; and Combat Service Support Very Small Aperture Terminal.  

When Soldiers arrive at the course they all have different levels of familiarization with the equipment, Hopkins said. While some have already had hands-on experience, other Soldiers have never seen the systems before.

“For this we are focusing on getting the equipment out of storage, getting hands on, and getting them excited about these systems,” Hopkins said. “We want to exercise a seamless transition- if they make it part of their normal duties, they are familiar with it during state scenarios or overseas missions.”

The first few days of the course are used to introduce Soldiers to the different systems. The last couple of days are then used to demonstrate how the systems can be used in domestic missions for the National Guard. For this the Soldiers are put through an exercise where they can react to some sort of domestic emergency, such as a hurricane, tornadoes or flooding. During this final exercise the Soldiers learn just how much these systems can interact with each other and how they can all be used together.

“This all came about after Hurricane Katrina to improve tracking of personnel and equipment,” explained Hopkins. “But Guard units can also use this overseas on missions as well.”

There’s a high demand for this training, according to Quinn, because a lot of units will see these systems during their deployments. In addition to equipping and training units to accomplish their warfighting requirement, the systems also enable them to track logistics actions during state emergencies, homeland defense missions, and other Defense Support to Civilian Authorities events at home in Virginia.

In a way, this is a “train the trainer” course. The goal, according to Hopkins, is to get to the point where NGB doesn’t have to provide trainers. There will be enough experienced Soldiers that the states will have personnel to train their own troops on the systems.

“The big point is, the students can take their knowledge, implement this into their own unit and then provide training on these systems to other Soldiers,” Quinn said.

Click HERE to return to the top of the page ~ Click HERE to return to the news directory