Monday, October 17, 2011

Breaking Ground on the 79th SSC's New Home

Los Alamitos, Calif. — The 79th Sustainment Support Command hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new $29 million U.S. Army Reserve Center on Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, Oct. 15.
Projected to be completed in early 2013, this new 52,479 square foot Army Reserve Center will be the future home of the 79th SSC, the Headquarters for roughly twenty-five thousand Army Reserve Soldiers and government civilians throughout the Western United States.
Creation of this facility is also helping stimulate the local economy by utilizing more than 50 sub-contractors which employ more than 1,000 Southern California workers.
Maj. Gen William D. Frink Jr., commanding general of the 79th SSC said, “this facility could not have come along at a more ideal time, as our nation contends with high levels of unemployment, debts, deficits and security concerns, the creation of this new facility has and will continue to make significant contributions to the local economy while helping to provide for our common defense.”
In addition, this new facility is being built in accordance with the green building movement. The United States Army, Air Force and Navy have developed policies that require sustainable design and development of their installations. These policies meet and, in many cases, exceed presidential directives on environmentally appropriate practices.
This project alone is expected to see a twenty percent reduction in energy costs, a twenty percent reduction in water use, and divert twenty percent of the construction waste from the landfill. In addition to other sustainability features, more than twenty percent of the building’s energy consumption will be powered by solar panels.
“These practices equate to savings to the installation and ultimately the taxpayer, and are a testament to the sustainability in construction standards of the Corps of Engineers,” said Frink.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

382nd CSSB Junior Soldiers Step

During a recent Town Hall meeting, Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, the Chief of the Army Reserve stated that although the Army Reserve achieved the congressionally mandated end-strength of 205,000 Soldiers last year, there is a significant gap in capability. Overall, the Army Reserve is short on the order of 10,000 officers in the grades of captain and major, and is challenged to develop and retain senior mid-grade non-commissioned officers.

This “gap” creates many obstacles for units to overcome and creates unique situations for commanders to deal with.

For the 382nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Kevin D. Banta, from Orem, Utah, this meant not having enough officers to fill the position of Battle Captain during a Combat Support Training Exercise conducted at Fort Hunter-Liggett, Calif., June 6 to 30.

A CSTX is an exercise where various support units conduct collective training designed to assist in the planning, preparing, supervising and executing operations as they would normally be performed while deployed. Each unit participating fulfills a critical function in sustaining the Force such as providing gas, food, water, supplies and various infrastructure needs.

The overall coordination, management and synchronization of these operations are performed in a Tactical Operations Center by a Brigade or Battalion Headquarters - in this case the 382nd CSSB. The overall coordination, management and synchronization inside of a TOC is performed by a Battle Captain.

Given limited options, Banta selected two Specialists, Kevin C. Buretta and Nicholas J. Almelia, to fill the duties and responsibilities normally held by a junior or field grade officer.
Banta couldn’t be more gratified by the decision.

“During the course of this exercise these Soldiers have performed outstandingly,” said Banta. “It became easy to see exactly what they were capable of by accomplishing so much with minimal direction and we couldn’t be more proud.”

Banta’s observations were shared by the stream of visiting VIPs to include the 79th Sustainment Support Commander, Maj. Gen. William D. Frink Jr.
During Frink’s visit to the 382nd CSSB TOC he was briefed by the two specialists on the array of support operations being conducted by the more than 10 units participating in the exercise.

"I am constantly amazed at how rapidly our Soldiers adapt to changing situations and are willing to step into leadership positions well beyond the rank they are wearing,” said Frink. “They are highly intelligent, confident and eager to take charge. All they ask for is an opportunity to learn and be involved.”

The two Battle Captains approached their duties as anyone would hope – with determined effort.

“I’m just expected to do the best I can – and that’s what I do,” said Burretta. “I’ll do the best I can no matter what I’m asked to do - whether it is KP duty or Battle Captain - I will give my best. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

Almelia, a native of Everett, Wash., independently echoed his counterpart’s mentality.

“I don’t like to fail at anything,” said Almelia, “so I’ll do my best until its right.”

Buretta and Almelia are both Information Support Specialists and have a combined total of only 5 years in service. Given their rank and experience they decided on day one to be a team.

“Originally we were assigned as day and night battle captains, but we recognized it didn’t really make sense – so we decided to work together as a Battle Captain team,” said Almelia.

Buretta, a native of Port Townsend, Wash., said the system has paid off.

“The thing that really helps me is my battle-buddy,” said Buretta. “We cover each others’ back as a team instead of making individual decisions.”

This tactic allowed them to tag-team issues and work out solutions together before taking them to the floor.

They were confident this approach would also help them deal with their biggest hurdle in the TOC – their rank.

“Being a Battle Captain is hard, being a Battle Captain as a specialist is really hard,” said Buretta.

“I sometimes bump heads with section heads – the hardest part is operating on their level without someone thinking I’m being disrespectful to their rank, but I’m just trying to do my job,” continued Buretta.

Almelia said, “Rank is always an issue, but some people really get it. Lt. Col. Banta explained to everyone on our first day that regardless of the rank we carry we had a job to do – and we were all to work together to get the job done.”

Some might view having specialists as Battle Captains as a negative, but Banta adamantly disagrees.

“I see it as a positive,” said Banta. “The gaps would be filled prior to a deployment no matter what. This situation allows us to build a system and give junior Soldiers a chance to learn and grow in a way that would be otherwise impossible.”

“The gap that exists makes it all the more important to make our junior Soldiers the Leaders we need them to be. It’s supremely important to allow these Soldiers the opportunity to test and experiment in order to improve themselves,” Banta continued.

Exercises like these are the perfect place to allow that kind of development said Frink.

“The CSTX provides an outstanding training environment for our Soldiers to gain these experiences and growth opportunities."

The opportunity given to the two specialists was not lost on them.

“The commander has enabled me by putting me in the box and setting the stage,” said Buretta. “I see it as a great opportunity and truly appreciate it.”

Almelia said, “The knowledge you gain is something you can’t learn in school. Plus, it’s fun – I like having the challenge and it definitely keeps me from getting bored.”

Banta said although Buretta and Almelia personify what can be accomplished by junior Soldiers given the encouragement and opportunity, they are not alone.

“These two specialists aren’t the only ones filling roles beyond their typical scope,” said Banta. “I can easily show you other examples.”

“We are all proud and amazed by the professionalism and adaptability in the management of this operation by our junior Soldiers,” said Banta. “These future Leaders give me confidence in the Army Reserve of tomorrow.”

Story by Sgt. 1st Class C.L. Beal

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

- 79th SSC Best Warrior Competition -

The 79th Sustainment Support Command hosted its “Best Warrior Competition” at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, Calif., May 13 and 14.

A total of six Army Reserve Soldiers competed for the title 79th SSC “Best Warrior.” They were selected from more than 15,000 Warrior-Citizens and represented the 4th, 364th and 311th Expeditionary Support Commands, as well as the 79th SSC Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment.

Competitors included: Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, 376th Human Resources Company headquartered in Bell, Calif.; Staff Sgt. Leith W. Strachan, 419th Transportation Company headquartered in Salt Lake City; Sgt. Ananda F. Trulley, 164th Quarter Master Group headquartered in Broken Arrow, Okla.; Sgt. Gustavo Negrete, 79th Sustainment Support Command Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment; Spc. Casey T. Quinn, 257th Transportation Company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev.; and Pvt. 1st Class Mark A. Hansen, 889th Transportation Company headquartered in Salt Lake City.

Each Soldier had won similar events held by subordinate commands, earning the right to compete at the 79th SSC competition. Command Sgt. Maj. Robert N. Roberson, Jr., the Command Sergeant Major of the 79th SSC gave tribute to their achievement during their orientation brief.

“You are the best of the best,” said Roberson. “You have outshown and outlasted everyone else to get here – no matter what happens – you are already winners.”

Among those competing, only two winners could be selected to represent the 79th SSC at the US Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition: one non-commissioned officer and one junior enlisted Soldier.

“Make it a fierce competition and hard for us to select the winners,” said Col. Norman B. Green, 79th SSC Chief of Staff, to the competitors. “Give it all you got, and go until you drop.”

The competition had been scheduled to take place in April at Fort Hunter-Ligget, Calif., but was cancelled due to a possible government shutdown.

Training events in the Army Reserve are planned months to years in advance to account and coordinate for family care, absence from civilian workplaces, training support, funds, equipment, facilities, travel, and Soldier availability. Therefore, rescheduling of the competition was nearly impossible and was impeded by numerous obstacles.

In the end, this year’s 79th SSC Best Warrior Competition could only happen if it was conducted at JFTB Los Alamitos and completed within two days instead of the original six. The new time constraints removed almost all opportunity for rest and recuperation. Soldiers went systematically from one event to the next, creating a true test of the competitors’ physical stamina and fortitude.

Day one included in-processing, orientation, weapons qualification, a written essay, and a board appearance which did not conclude until nearly midnight. This gave competitors four hours of sleep until beginning day two events.

In order to overcome scheduling limitations, some non-traditional alternatives were employed. Without the option of a live firing range, a simulated zero and qualification range was used in its place via the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000. The EST 2000 resembles a giant video game, simulating real ranges and using real weapons, but includes a state-of-the-art computer system that precisely tracks the aiming and firing of weapons by users.

There was, however, no deviation in conduction of the board. The five sergeants major composing the board, presided by Roberson, uniformly tested each competitor’s knowledge and bearing. The pressure of such scrutiny has crippled the tongue of innumerable enlisted soldiers. The 79th SSC Best Warrior board was no exception.

“It’s not easy keeping your bearing when five sergeants major are staring you down,” said Quinn. “There were things that I knew, but I just couldn’t get out like I would have liked.”

On day two at 4:30 a.m., competitors began the Army Physical Fitness Test, consisting of sit-ups, push-ups, and a two mile run.

After completion, competitors had 45 minutes to change, gear-up and begin a 10 kilometer road march in full “battle rattle” to include helmet, weapon, and a rucksack weighing a minimum of 35 pounds.

Negrete was the first to finish, completing the march in one hour and 15 minutes. Virtually running the entire distance, Negrete exceeded the Air Assault standard of 15 minutes per mile by maintaining a 12-minute mile pace.

Competitors then went immediately to the base gym to begin the Army combatives event, which pitted each member against each other in a double elimination bracket. Winners were decided by submission or points earned during the six-minute matches.

The matches were fought with every competitor’s all, but ultimately training overcame when strength and stamina were exhausted. Negrete, with five years of Brazilian Ju Jitsu training, overcame Strachan in the final match leaving him undefeated.

After the combatives portion, the Soldiers were driven to Camp Pendleton, Calif., a 75-mile, drive, in order to conduct the final event – land navigation. Competitors were given two hours to find up to five points – the closest of which was more than 2,000 meters from the starting line.

Exhausted, soar and blistered – every competitor ignored their adversities and began the event by running in the direction of their first point. Determined to meet the challenge, each of the Reserve Soldiers kept the pace until the end.

Quinn, the junior enlisted competition winner later recalled, “I can’t really pick out one event from today - today was like one big event. This was one of my hardest days in the Army.”

The 79th’s “Best Warriors,” Negrete and Quinn are scheduled to compete at the USAR Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy, Wis., in June.

Negrete, the competition’s non-commissioned officer winner, said the event proved one thing.

“Like any Reserve Soldier, I learned that I can do pretty much anything I set out to do,” said Negrete. “I have some work to do – but I’ll be ready to compete in the USAR competition.”

As Troop Program Unit Soldiers, this year’s winners have prepared and will continue to prepare themselves on their own time, through their own determination and willingness to succeed. This makes their accomplishments all the more note worthy.

Maj. Gen. William D. Frink Jr., Commander of the 79th SSC said, “Their accomplishments are a testimony to the drive, ability and dedication of the Army Reserve Soldier. They embody the best of what we have to offer and explain how we are able to be the operational force we are today.”

*View photos of the event at the 79th SSC Flicker page:


Story by Sgt. 1st Class C. L. Beal
79th Sustainment Support Command PAO NCOIC

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vigilance: A message from MG William Frink, Commanding General of the 79th SSC

To Soldiers, Civilians, and Families of the 79th SSC,

The death of Osama bin Laden is an important victory for the United States, the U.S. Military and the 79th Sustainment Support Command. Our efforts to combat terrorism have never been about one man; we remain vigilant in protecting our nation against violent extremism of all kinds. While we remain at a heightened state of vigilance, we have increased Force Protection Measures from FPCON Alpha to FPCON Bravo to respond appropriately and aggressively to protect 79th SSC Soldiers, Families and Civilians from potential threats. With this change in Force Protection Measures, you may experience longer than normal delays at airports, social activity centers, and while entering and exiting military installations. It’s important that you maintain proper identification at all times, I want everyone to remain vigilant during your normal daily activities.

I commend all the members of the 79th SSC and the Armed Forces for defending and protecting our great nation at home and abroad, whether you wear a military uniform or serving as a government civilian. You are the unsung heroes and our country depends on you in peace and in war. We are stronger and safer now than we were on 9/11 because of your unyielding dedicated service and commitment to defend the freedom we all cherish. As we respond to the many challenges facing our nation, I am grateful for what you have accomplished – keeping our nation safe. I would like to thank each of you for consistently going above and beyond the call of duty.

William D. Frink, JR.
Major General, US Army Reserve

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

79th SSC National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Observance - April 2011

To 79th SSC Soldiers, Civilians, and Families

The national observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is 1-30 April 2011. This year the campaign themes for the nation and the U.S. Army are united in their focus. This is a strong message and tells us that we are not alone in our conviction to eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault from our communities.

The national theme “It’s time … to get involved,” and the U.S. Army theme “I. A.M. Strong: Achieving Cultural Change to Stop Sexual Assault,” focus on everyone speaking up to prevent sexual violence in our communities, workplaces and schools. Both campaigns incorporate a bystander approach to sexual violence prevention which explores common everyday behaviors and offers individuals viable, responsible ways to intervene. A bystander, or witness, is anyone who sees a situation and has the opportunity to act. Research shows that engaging bystanders is a promising way to help prevent sexual violence. This engagement will educate and motivate people who may or may not know what to do, may think others will act, or may simply be afraid to do something. As a community, we must eliminate all excuses and aggressively ensure a culture that bears no victim unaided.

I ask Soldiers, Civilians, and Family members to re-dedicate their efforts toward preventing sexual assault and creating a positive climate enhanced through the "I. A.M. Strong" campaign. Our Army Values call us to be proactive – to “Intervene, Act, and Motivate” others to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault. As stated by President Obama, “With each new victim and each person still suffering from an attack, we are called with renewed purpose to respond to and rid our Nation of all forms of sexual violence.” Together we can and must stop violence against our fellow comrades in the Profession of Arms.

Additional information about the U.S. Army’s observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month can be found at:

I encourage leaders at all levels to support special observances and activities that impart the message of the “I. A.M. Strong” campaign and of bystander prevention education.

Major General, US Army Reserve

Friday, April 8, 2011

From the 79th SSC Command Team: Message Regarding Potential Government Shutdown

To our Soldiers, Civilians, and Families,

At the time of this message, we are diligently planning and preparing for the multiple challenges that will be faced if a government shutdown occurs. Our priority is to ensure the continuity of mission-essential operations, followed by resumption of normal operations and allow for re-building readiness as an operational force.

We understand this could have serious repercussions -- not only to our professional mission -- but on our personal lives. This situation creates turmoil for all of us, no matter our position or duty status.

We remain hopeful that a government shutdown will be averted, but if it does occur, the DoD will have no funds as of Saturday, 9 April. This means no pay for our full-time staff for the days during which the government is shut down, as well as the cancellation of all Battle Assemblies, RSTs, and other IDTs.

Exemptions exist for deploying units, personnel supporting mobilizing units, yellow ribbon events, and Soldiers currently in a duty status (AT/ADT/ADT-S/ADOS-RC/CO-ADOS). It is critical that everyone contact their unit to determine their status and to maintain contact with their leaders throughout the crisis.

If an appropriation or a Continuing Resolution has not been enacted by Saturday, all full-time support staff are directed to report to work on Monday at their normal duty hours to receive additional instructions. Military personnel and Civilians occupying mission-essential positions will be required to work during this time, and will be paid retroactively once the department receives additional funding.

As Citizen-Warriors, we will be impacted differently than other Federal employees due to the diversity of our organizational workforce. Whether you serve as a Civilian, TPU or AGR Soldier, this event will cause financial hardship. We know that serving during this period is a challenge, but it does not lessen our responsibilities to the Army Reserve or to our Families.

Constant, effective communication between all of us is paramount to our success as we work through the coming days.

Know that we will do our utmost to provide everyone clear information about the status of events as they progress. In turn, please support your fellow colleagues and Families as best you can.

Our strength and success though this period will depend on maintaining our professionalism and lines of communication. Your hard work, patience, and unwavering leadership are paramount, recognized, and greatly appreciated during this uncertain time.

The 79th SSC Command Team is working with your leadership to assist you in any way possible in answering questions, addressing concerns, and providing support within legal guidelines as we navigate through this challenging time together.

William D. Frink Jr.
Major General, US Army Reserve

Andrea M. Breyton
Command Executive Officer

Robert N. Roberson, Jr.
Command Sergeant Major

Monday, April 4, 2011

Enlisted TPUs and AGRs: New Promotion Standards Will Affect You

Here is the guidance from the Army Reserve Leadership, sent to all Soldiers through their AKO email inboxes. In case you missed it or can't find your AKO password... we reposted it here:

Topic: Implementation of the revised promotion point computation for Sergeant (SGT) and Staff Sergeant (SSG) for upcoming Army Reserve Enlisted Troop Program Unit (TPU) and Active Guard Reserve (AGR) promotion boards.

Effective April 1, 2011 the revised Semi-Centralized DA 3355, Promotion Point Worksheet, will be used for all Army Reserve promotion boards.

Effective June 1, 2011, Soldiers on the PPRL without a re-computation of promotion points utilizing the new standards will no longer be in a promotable status.

In anticipation of the June 1, 2011 AR 600-8-19 regulatory change, new junior enlisted promotion board standards require that company commander and  promotion board points are no longer authorized. Company commanders will
now recommend Soldiers for promotion to SGT or SSG or deny promotion consideration by not recommending the Soldier. Appropriate counseling must be completed for denial of consideration. Promotion boards will validate
company commander's recommendations with a GO/NO-GO vote. In addition, there is no minimum cutoff score for  recommendation by the commander or the promotion board on the new DA 3355. Promotion selection boards will be
convened by the promotion authority as outlined in AR 600-8-19. Wherever practical, these boards will be held at battalion or similar level and convened as often as necessary to ensure eligible Soldiers are considered for promotion in a timely manner.

Due to the removal of commander and board points, the remaining sections have been revised to maintain the maximum possible points of 800. In preparation for the June effective date, commanders must immediately begin using the new promotion point worksheet.

Commanders must recalculate promotion points for Soldiers currently on the PPRL but not yet promoted. No board action is necessary as these Soldiers have already been recommended by the promotion board. The recalculation and new DA 3355 must be sent to the Soldier?s servicing Regional Support Command (RSC) for promotion point integration onto the new PPRL. Soldiers already recommended for promotion should be encouraged to take a proactive stance with regard to the recomputation of promotion points.

This policy does not negate the requirement for USAR AGR Soldiers to report (in person) before the promotion board.


To access the implementation guidance, go to