June 28, 2011

Senior leaders visit 116th BCT Headquarters training at Fort Polk

By Staff Reports

FORT POLK, La. — Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker, Deputy Secretary John Buckovich, Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Virginia Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major Carl Holcomb visited Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard's Staunton-based 116th Brigade Combat Team Headquarters June 26 at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La. Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, acting commander of U.S. Army Forces Command and Brig. Gen. Clarence Chinn, commanding general of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk Commanding General also joined in the visit.


Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker meets with Soldiers from the 116th Brigade Combat Team Headquarters during a senior leader visit to Fort Polk, La., June 26. (Contributed photo)

"We've all been impressed with the job you've been doing," said Bromberg. "Your unit should be proud of their accomplishments."

The Soldiers are at Fort Polk conducting mobilization training in preparation for federal active duty in Afghanistan. The visit was incorporated as a scenario in a multi-day exercise.

"Our visit on Sunday was an opportunity to thank these fine Virginian's for their service and see first-hand the hard work our Virginia Soldiers are putting into being fully prepared for their federal active duty mission," Decker said. "I could not be more proud of the men and women of the 116th BCT Headquarters, and I am confident they will represent the commonwealth of Virginia well with their service in Afghanistan. Their level of commitment, professionalism, love of country, and experience enabled them to prepare for deployment on very short notice."

Approximately 175 Soldiers assigned to the unit began federal active duty May 15 with a farewell ceremony held in Staunton, and the unit conducted training for several weeks at Camp Shelby, Miss., prior to their training at Fort Polk.

"Command Sergeant Major Holcomb and I were extremely pleased to visit 116th Brigade Combat Team Soldiers at Fort Polk with Secretary Decker and Deputy Secretary Buckovich," Long said. "The 116th BCT Headquarters from Virginia continues to perform to the highest standards with exceptional marks in all areas. Morale was excellent; all Soldiers are anxious to do their part for the nation. This is a superb team of professionals with many experienced leaders and skilled Soldiers. I could not be more satisfied. I know that Governor McDonnell and all of Virginia are very proud of its sons and daughters."

The 116th BCT HQs will serve as a command and control headquarters for counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan, and the unit prepared for the mobilization with little more than 60 days notice.

The Headquarters did not mobilize with its normally assigned subordinate battalions from Virginia, but will instead provide command and control for active Army and coalition units upon its arrival in Afghanistan. With the U. S. Army's system of modular unit organization, a brigade combat team headquarters can be mobilized on its own and be assigned three to five subordinate combat arms battalions as well as artillery and support battalions in order to conduct operations.

You can learn more about the 116th BCT Headquarters at their official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/116thBCT.

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