May 7, 2009

529th CSSB trains on command, control tasks during annual training

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

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— Soldiers from Headquarters Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion returned to Virginia Beach May 2 after two weeks training at the National Maintenance Training Center at Camp Dodge, Iowa.

  529th CSSB in Iowa

Soldiers from the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion examine a map during a shift change briefing at the National Maintenance Training Center at Camp Dodge, Iowa. (Photo courtesy of 529th CSSB)

Approximately 65 Soldiers from the battalion headquarters staff took part in the training.

The unit focused on battle staff training and the military decision making process in sustainment operations. The two-week training culminated in a simulation exercise conducted by the Distributed Battle Simulation Program.

“It was the first time we’ve worked together as a staff in a training environment,” said Maj. Matthew Lutz, the battalion executive officer. “So it was a great team-building exercise.” 

“By traveling elsewhere and pooling our resources with the 3647th, we got the training in a different environment and without any distractions,” Lutz said.

The 529th is a new unit for the Virginia National Guard, and a combat sustainment support battalion is a new organization for the U. S. Army. The unit was formed in December 2006 and is under the command of the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group.

In the past, the corps support battalion was organized to support a specific combat unit, but now the organization is designed to provide a wide range of sustainment support to the modular brigade combat team. As part of the Army transformation to a “plug and play” philosophy that provides greater flexibility, a unit like the 529th can provide a wide range of sustainment support.

While in Virginia, the 529th has command and control of the Richmond- based 1710th Transportation Company and the Blackstone-based 3647th Maintenance Company. If deployed into a theatre of operations like Iraq or Afghanistan, the battalion would have command and control over a wide variety of sustainment units that provide different types of support.

“The training was outstanding, especially for the younger Soldiers who don’t often have a chance to do their MOS,” said Sgt. Ishmael Glennon of Hampton, who served as the platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon.

In addition to practicing command and control, the unit’s Soldiers had the chance to work on both their MOS skills and their Soldier skills, Glennon said. 

“It was the first time some of us had a chance to get hands-on in our MOS,” said Spc. Amber Todd of Virginia Beach, a signal systems support specialist who has been with the unit for about a year. “It was both refresher training and learning brand new stuff. It was very nice having your training gradually come back to you.”  

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