ASA-Fort Dix: Two exercises set
Army Reserve units as operational force
ASA-Dix Staff Writer
With Army Reserve large training numbers shifting from mobilization to major training events, two major exercises have proven the U.S. Army Support Activity-Fort Dix retains the edge in capabilities at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst to providing an operational ready Army Reserve force for the future.
On the Combat Support Training Exercise front
Pfcs. Bethany Bates, at left, and Stephen Yargeau, of the 328th Medical Det. from Pittsburg, stand watch at an entry check-point at Army Support Activity Fort Dix’s Bivouac 10 training area Feb. 20. Bates and Yargeau are participating with nearly 2400 Soldiers in the Combat Support Training Exercise taking place over the next three weeks. (TSC/5-Rivers Services photos by Ed Mingin)
Master Sgt. Christopher Allen, 2/313 Logostics Support Bn from Fort Drum, N.Y., sets up a portable lighting unit at Army Support Activity Fort Dix’s Bivouac 9 training area Feb. 20. Allen and other members of the 3/313 LSB are at the ASA to participate in the Combat Support Training Exercise taking place over the next three weeks.
Sgt. Michael “H-Bomb” Harris, 2/313 Logistics Support Bn. from Fort Drum, N.Y., loads up on fuel to power generators at Army Support Activity Fort Dix’s Bivouac 10 training area Feb. 20. Harris is one of nearly 2400 Soldiers participating in the Combat Support Training Exercise taking place over the next three weeks.
“In order to meet a revised Army Reserve training strategy we need to be able to perform the collective training exercises with the capability to operate in all operational environments in an effort to maintain the operational status of the Army Reserve,” Col. Jeffrey Doll, ASA-Fort Dix commander, said of one of the lines of effort for the activity’s missions.
Both exercises executed or underway are led by the 78th Training Division and the Atlantic Division 75th Training Command. The three weeklong Warrior Exercise known as Arctic Lightening, wrapped up last month. A second three-week Combat Training Support Exercise is now underway with a training audience for both events that will total about 5,400 Soldiers who are testing their job specific equipment and tactical warrior skills.
“What’s important to me is we recognize, we are here to support the 78th Division and the Atlantic Division 75th Training Command, so we provide the required resources, capabilities and the maneuver space to conduct these important exercises,” Doll said.
The unique concept for both Army Reserve exercises focuses on combat support and combat service support Soldiers and their respective units to support each other to meet training requirements in a simulated tactical environment. For example a water purification unit will provide Soldiers with needed water at several training locations or fuel handlers will set up refueling points for those participating in the exercise in a combat-scenario driven training event.
The Army Reserve schedules the exercises based on a unit’s five-year road to deployment cycle. The recent Warrior Exercise and the CSTX now underway at the joint base checks on Soldiers and respective units training readiness to deploy during the ready years of a scheduled and predictable deployment cycle.
“The terrain at ASA-Fort Dix ranges, training areas and weather conditions that exist in the Northeast are ideally suited to provide a degree of realism to the exercise and works through some of the unique challenges associated with conducting year round operations to improve the unit readiness for the full spectrum of conflict,” Doll said.
Both exercises have been conducted in varied winter weather conditions, but they will be known as the year for breaking many regional records for single digit temperatures and a snowfall accumulation record of 71.6 inches this month last set in 1995-1996 in the Philadelphia area
It is not uncommon for Army Reserve and National Guard units to train in the winter condition. But with an average temperature for winter being about 40-degrees and 12-inches of snow for the past several years, this season pushed Soldiers and their systems to succeed at completing unit commanders training objectives.
“This season presented certainly more challenges then most, but these challenges are exactly the challenges the Army Reserve Soldiers need to refine their field craft and skill sets to keep these Army Reserve units as an operational force” Doll said.
“One thing I’m most pleased with is we took a lot of after action review comments from last years CSTX, and now WAREX and applied those lessons learned for our supporting role as an installation service provider during this training exercise. The goal is to provide less focus on life support and more on training” Doll said.