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1st TSC takes to the field for Early Entry Command Post exercise

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By MASTER SGT. JONATHAN WILEY

Soldiers from 1st Theater Sustainment Command travelled to Fort Knox’s Mount Eden training site Sept. 14 and set up camp there for a six-day field exercise.

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It was the second time in four months that the headquarters, which is commanded by Maj. Gen. Flem “Donnie” Walker Jr., conducted a field exercise but it won’t be the last.

The exercise is part of the command’s renewed emphasis on building its capability to conduct expeditionary operations anywhere in the world, said Col. Brian Memoli, assistant chief of staff for operations, 1st TSC. Prior to May 2018, 1st TSC has not conducted a field training exercise for several years, he explained.

Since 2006, the unit has perpetually deployed Soldiers to the Central Command area of operations to provide logistics support named in operations in that theater.

“Before Maj. Gen. Walker’s tenure, our focus was on what was going on at our forward-deployed headquarters in Camp Arifjan,” Memoli said. “We went to fixed facilities and operated there.”

While this is still an integral part of the 1st TSC’s mission, the unit is broadening its scope and building its capabilities to operate anywhere in the world in the most austere environments. To achieve this goal, the unit has invested over $1 million in tents and other equipment over the past 14 months to establish an Early Entry Command Post, Memoli said.

“With this structure, we are able to operate anywhere,” he said. We can do hurricane relief in the United States or full-scale operations somewhere else, and we don’t need hardstand buildings to do it.”

As a management headquarters, 1st TSC is equipped to provide command and control for the tactical units that would be assigned underneath it, he said.

Memoli explained 1st TSC is still making some internal refinements to the EECP, but it is now capable to deploy it and successfully operate.

“With what we have here, I’m confident that we can go anywhere, establish this, and start commodity management,” he said.

Beyond just commodity management, the ECCP is capable of doing any function that the 1st TSC Main Command Post can do on a smaller scale because every staff section will be represented in the manning document the operations section is developing, Memoli said.

“As the G3 [assistant chief of staff of operations], I would be in charge of the EECP when it initially deployed,” Memoli said, but “I will have a rep from the G1 [personnel section], G8 [finance], G2 [security], SJA [legal],” etc. “The EECP has the staff to do every function the TSC does at its MCP.”

Memoli explained that in a real-world mission, more and more staff from the MCP would deploy to the EECP the longer the mission went on until “eventually, when the [commanding general] and the [command sergeant major] got here, this would become the main.”

He said that with the right task force around the 1st TSC, operations could be sustained indefinitely.

Staff Sgt. Brandon Manager, a transportation management supervision, in 1st TSC’s support operations section, said the exercise was a great way from him to learn and to train the junior Soldiers.

“Working at a TSC, a two-star command level, is very different from the battalion and brigade level work many of us were doing before this,” Monger said. “This exercise has really helped broaden my horizon and force me to consider I’m not the guy on the ground physically doing everything. I’m in a supervisory role.”

This was the first time the 1st TSC ran an exercise with injects after as part of the EECP field problem, Memoli said. Staff were instructed to use the military decision making process “to come together, look at a problem, do an analysis, and bring outputs to the boss so he can make a decision.”

“It’s a process, across the Army, we don’t practice enough,” he said.

Private Faith Spohn, a 1st TSC intelligence analyst who graduated from Advanced Individual Training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in June 2018, said the exercise was a good learning opportunity for her.

“In school, we learned [intelligence] and how it goes into [Forces Command], but we did not learn about how it plays into logistics,” she said. “In this exercise, I’m learning how my job plays a part in what the unit does as a whole.”

Spohn, along with most of the EECP personnel, will deploy in February 2019 to continue to build upon the skills they have developed. The next iteration will take place at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The unit will continue to tackle the same scenario, Memoli said.

“The 84th Training Brigade will provide Observer Controllers to oversee us and will evaluate us based on how well we execute our established standard operating procedures,” he said.

After that, the unit plans to deploy the EECP to Jordan in the summer of 2019 as part of Exercise Eager Lion.