By SGT. 1ST CLASS GARY COOPER
3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)
The 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers completed their certifying training event, or CTE, at the Mission Command Training Center on Fort Knox from Feb. 6 through today.
“The purpose is to simulate what the Soldiers will actually do in Afghanistan, by creating the same atmosphere and situations they will see downrange,” said 3rd ESC G-4 Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Erik Jablonski.
“It’s realistic and stressful, because they are throwing things at us that we didn’t encounter in previous exercises,” said Jablonski.
Col. J.P. Silverstein, Chief of Operations Group Sierra, from the Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Mission Command Training Program, said the CTE simulates what will be a historic mission for 3rd ESC.
“The mission is not only historic because they are closing out Afghanistan, it is historically challenging, because Afghanistan is landlocked, with high elevation, limited lines of communication and seasonal weather extremes, from harsh winters, to dust storms and flooding.”
Silverstein said the exercise was designed to reflect these difficulties, and that 3rd ESC rose to the challenge.
“The 3rd ESC is a phenomenal, aggressive unit. The scenarios are complex and multi-dimensional. Everything MCTP has thrown at them they (3rd ESC) have attacked with vigor. Most importantly, it is obvious they were prepared for this exercise.”
The 3rd ESC also impressed 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Munitions Chief Maj. Bernice Spencer, acting as Regional Command Central commander during the exercise.
“They are already asking a lot of the right questions. They are very adaptable, eager to learn, and they take it very seriously,” said Spencer.
The Regional Command Central commander is one of several roles played by the white cell, which acts as a higher command during the exercise.
“Third ESC called us in to train them up for their upcoming deployment,” explained Spencer. “All of us have deployed, so we use our background to walk them through the exercise.”
Jablonski expects the training to pay dividends downrange.
“It’s good because it shows us how we need to adapt our current policies and procedures. It challenges us and allows for creative learning.”