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: www.flickr.com/groups/79ssc/pool/





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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: http://www.sexualassault.army.mil/.

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.



WILLIAM D. FRINK, JR.
Major General, US Army Reserve
Commanding

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
Commanding

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.

WHERE TO GO FOR MORE INFORMATION:

To access the implementation guidance, go to
https://forums.army.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=1373996.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

In Pictures: 311th ESC Completes Best Warrior Competition

Photos and Cutlines by Sgt. 1st Class C. L. Beal
79th Sustainment Support Command PAO

The 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) completed their annual Best Warrior Competition last week. This command is one of three falling under the 79th Sustainment Support Command. The other ESCs -- 654th and 4th -- are also holding similar competitions for their units.

Finalists of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition are: Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, Sgt. Roi B. Cavan, and Spc. Casey T. Quinn were the winners of the 2011 BWC for the 311th.

These photos are snapshots of events that composed the 311th ESC BWC which concluded with one non-commissioned officer and one junior enlisted soldier named as “Best Warrior.” Winners of the competition will compete in the 79th SSC Best Warrior Competition in June.

The 79th winners will go on to the US Army Reserve competition and ultimately have a chance to compete among the active component.

Scroll down to find out more about the troops featured in this slideshow.






Photo Details
Spc. Casey T. Quinn, a motor transport operator in the 257th Transportation Company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., plots grids during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Quinn said he enlisted in the Army Reserve less than three years ago and is currently 37 years old. “I often feel I’m too old for this sort of competition until I have a minute to rest and heal – then I’m right back in it,” said Quinn.

Quinn went on to finish the competition and was named the 311th’s Best Warrior – Soldier.

Army Sgt. Roi B. Cavan, a human resources sergeant in the 311th ESC, headquartered in Las Angeles, Calif., plots his points during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Cavan said he entered the Best Warrior Competition to challenge himself and the experience, “The experience I gain from this competition will help me succeed to become a better soldier and leader."
Army Pfc. Holly R. Sanders, a unit supply specialist in the 329th Quartermaster Company headquartered in Riverside, Calif., plots grids during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Sanders, who is known for her positive attitude and enthusiasm said, “I love the Army, and I love my unit. I’m learning and taking everything from this competition. I’m happy to represent women of the Army and am giving nothing less than my best.” Army Pfc. Holly R. Sanders, a unit supply specialist in the 329th Quartermaster Company headquartered in Riverside, Calif., plots grids during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.
Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, a human resources sergeant in the 376th Human Resources Company headquartered in Bell Calif., plots grids during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Medina is a veteran of two deployments including Kuwait and Iraq, was diagnosed in 2008 with Crohn’s disease. Medina said he volunteered for a third tour, but was deemed un-deployable because of his condition and is now going through a medical evaluation board. Fighting the decision, Medina said, “I am participating in this competition to show that I am fit for duty and one of the best.”

Medina went on to finish the competition and was named the 311th’s Best Warrior – NCO. 

Army Sgt. Roi B. Cavan, a human resources sergeant in the 311th ESC, headquartered in Las Angeles, Calif., surveys the terrain during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Cavan said he entered the Best Warrior Competition to challenge himself and the experience. “The experience I gain from this competition will help me succeed to become a better Soldier and leader,” said Cavan.
Army Sgt. Roi B. Cavan, a human resources sergeant in the 311th ESC, headquartered in Las Angeles, Calif., confirms his location during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Cavan said he entered the Best Warrior Competition to challenge himself and the experience. “The experience I gain from this competition will help me succeed to become a better Soldier and leader,” said Cavan. 

Army Sgt. Roi B. Cavan, a human resources sergeant in the 311th ESC, headquartered in Las Angeles, Calif., uses his compass to re-confirm his destination during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Cavan said he entered the Best Warrior Competition to challenge himself and the experience. “The experience I gain from this competition will help me succeed to become a better Soldier and leader,” said Cavan. 

Spc. William J. Brooks, an executive administrative assistant in the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. takes a moment to catch his breath during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21. 

Spc. William J. Brooks, an executive administrative assistant in the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. confirms his location during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21. 

Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, a human resources sergeant in the 376th Human Resources Company headquartered in Bell Calif., confirms his location on his map during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Medina is a veteran of two deployments including Kuwait and Iraq, was diagnosed in 2008 with Crohn’s disease. Medina said he volunteered for a third tour, but was deemed un-deployable because of his condition and is now going through a medical evaluation board. Fighting the decision, Medina said, “I am participating in this competition to show that I am fit for duty and one of the best.”

Medina went on to finish the competition and was named the 311th’s Best Warrior – NCO.
Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, a human resources sergeant in the 376th Human Resources Company headquartered in Bell Calif., reviews his map while scanning the terrain during a land navigation event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21. 

Army Pfc. Holly R. Sanders, a unit supply specialist in the 329th Quartermaster Company headquartered in Riverside, Calif., is hip-thrown to the mat by a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor during a combatives event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 22.

Sanders, who is known for her positive attitude and enthusiasm said, “I love the Army, and I love my unit. I’m learning and taking everything from this competition. I’m happy to represent women of the Army and am giving nothing less than my best.” 

Army Sgt. Roi B. Cavan, a human resources sergeant in the 311th ESC, headquartered in Las Angeles, Calif., hip-throws Spc. Casey T. Quinn during a combatives event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 22.


Spc. Casey T. Quinn, a motor transport operator in the 257th Transportation Company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., performs a hip-throw during a combatives event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Quinn said he enlisted in the Army Reserve less than three years ago and is currently 37-years-old. “I often feel I’m too old for this sort of competition until I have a minute to rest and heal – then I’m right back in it,” said Quinn.

Quinn went on to finish the competition and was named the 311th’s Best Warrior – Soldier.

Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, a human resources sergeant in the 376th Human Resources Company headquartered in Bell Calif., performs a combat-roll during a combatives event as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 22.

Medina went on to finish the competition and was named the 311th’s Best Warrior – NCO. 

Army Sgt. Roi B. Cavan, a human resources sergeant in the 311th ESC, headquartered in Las Angeles, Calif., makes his way to the half-way point of a 10 kilometer ruck-march as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 23.

Cavan said he entered the Best Warrior Competition to challenge himself and the experience. “The experience I gain from this competition will help me succeed to become a better Soldier and leader,” said Cavan. 

(left) Spc. Casey T. Quinn, a motor transport operator in the 257th Transportation Company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., and (right) Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, a human resources sergeant in the 376th Human Resources Company headquartered in Bell Calif., make their way to the finish of a 10-kilometer ruck-march as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Quinn and Medina went on to finish the competition and were named the 311th’s Best Warriors. 

Spc. Casey T. Quinn (left), a motor transport operator in the 257th Transportation Company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., and Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, a human resources sergeant in the 376th Human Resources Company headquartered in Bell Calif., make their way to the finish of a 10-kilometer ruck-march as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Quinn and Medina went on to finish the competition and were named the 311th’s Best Warriors.
Army Pfc. Holly R. Sanders, a unit supply specialist in the 329th Quartermaster Company headquartered in Riverside, Calif., walks to the finish line of a 10-kilometer ruck-march as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 23.

Sanders, who is known for her positive attitude and enthusiasm said, “I love the Army, and I love my unit. I’m learning and taking everything from this competition. I’m happy to represent women of the Army and am giving nothing less than my best.”
Army Pfc. Holly R. Sanders, a unit supply specialist in the 329th Quartermaster Company headquartered in Riverside, Calif., catches her breath after completing a 10-kilometer ruck-march as part of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 23.


Final competitors of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition (left to right) Staff Sgt. Genaro Medina, Sgt. Roi B. Cavan, Pfc. Holly R. Sanders, and Spc. Casey T. Quinn stand together at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, Calif., prior to an awards dinner held in their honor.

Medina, Brooks and Quinn were named the 311th “Best Warriors” and will compete in the 79th Sustainment Support Command Best Warrior Competition scheduled in June. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Update: U.S. Forces Continue to Aid Earthquake, Tsunami Victims

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2011 - American service members in Japan continue to help the Japanese people recover from the catastrophic March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

At the same time, many family members have taken advantage of the voluntary authorized departure process.

Japanese authorities say that more than 10,000 people are known dead from the twin disasters and another 17,000 are still missing. More than 250,000 are living in evacuation shelters.

The nuclear emergency at the Dai-Ichi power plant continues, and Japanese authorities today asked those living between 20 and 30 kilometers from the plant -- about 12 to 20 miles -- to move.

American service members based in Japan were among the first international personnel to provide aid.

As of March 24, U.S. service members have delivered 1,707,815 gallons of water, 172 tons of food, 10 tons of medical supplies and 34 tons of other relief supplies. DOD personnel are working with Japanese emergency responders to search for bodies, clear airports and roads and deliver humanitarian supplies.

American helicopters have hop-scotched the area delivering supplies, transporting survivors or bringing in personnel.

Sixteen U.S. ships, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, are deployed in support of operations. Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force are involved with the relief effort. Airmen from Misawa, and Kadena air bases also are involved at many levels.

A total of 4,744 U.S. family members have returned to the United States via the voluntary authorized departure program. About 8,000 American family members are still in Japan awaiting departure.

Service members and their families have had concerns about possible contamination of food and water in Japan, and U.S. Forces Japan has enhanced the measures the command takes to ensure the safety of food and water supplies.

The food and water on U.S. military installations are safe and in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards, according to a release on the command's website.

The command will continue to test water supplies and will increase the number of tests as an added precaution, the release added.

"The safety and security of our service members and their families are our top priority," the release said. "We take extreme care to ensure our personnel are protected and will continue to monitor the situation."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fallen Hero, Sgt. Jason M. Weaver, Welcomed Home

Story and photos by Army Sgt. 1st Class C. L. Beal 
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Service Members, Family, police, firemen, friends, and community members welcomed home Fallen Hero, Sgt. Jason M. Weaver, at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos today.

Weaver, 22, of Anaheim, California died March 3rd, 2011 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Patriot Riders of Southern Calif. precede the funeral procession of Fallen Hero, Sgt. Jason M. Weaver, at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos.

Welcome Home 326th Financial Management Center!!

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

Maj. Gen. William D. Frink Jr., Commanding General of the 79th Sustainment Support Command, speaks to Soldiers and Family members of the 326th Financial Management Center during a Welcome Home Warrior Citizen ceremony at the General George S. Patton U.S. Army Reserve Center in Bell, Calif., March 13. 


Soldiers of the 326th Financial Management Center were honored in front of family, friends and employers during a Welcome Home Warrior Citizen ceremony at the General George S. Patton U.S. Army Reserve Center in Bell, Calif., March 13.

The Soldiers of the 326th Financial Management Center recently returned from a year-long deployment in support of Operations in Iraqi, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. During their deployment, they provided technical oversight of all theater financial management operations, established theater policies and enforced regulations and guidelines.

The Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen ceremony is a Soldier-recognition program that was established in December 2004 to thank Reserve Soldiers and their Families for their sacrifices in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program was signed into law by President George W. Bush to ensure that Reserve Soldiers receive tangible recognition for their combat and non-combat service.

“The Welcome Home Warrior Citizen Ceremony gives us an opportunity to bring all the Soldiers and Family members back together and thank them both for their service and sacrifices,” said Col. Arthur Turnier, Director of the 326th FMC during its deployment.

“It also helps soldiers know that in the Army Reserve they are part of a larger family than they might think. It lets a new soldier know that they are not just a finance specialist by themselves – they are part of a family that will take care of and appreciate them,” continued Turnier.

This recognition is invaluable said Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Capps, Command Sergeant Major of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

“The problem we face as Reserve Soldiers is that we usually don’t get recognized by the local communities when we come back from deployments. These events give our soldiers and families that recognition and show them thanks for their sacrifices,” said Capps.

Maj. Gen. William D. Frink Jr., Commanding General of the 79th Sustainment Support Command, and guest speaker of the event, said it was an honor to welcome home the Warrior Citizens and recognize them for the successful mission they carried out in answer to their nation’s call.

“The 326th truly brought the brainpower and skills needed, when our country needed it,” said Frink. “We are all honored and blessed that the men and women standing before us today volunteered to serve our nation.”

During the ceremony, Frink individually thanked and presented the Soldiers and their Families with tokens of appreciation. They include a U.S. Flag in a wooden case with their name engraved on the front, a commemorative Warrior Citizen coin, a lapel pin set for the Soldier and Family members, and a Warrior Citizen welcome home flag.

“These are good and positive things, and I think they mean a lot to the soldiers and families who receive them,” said Capps. “It’s much better than in the old days when they would just give us a pen that didn’t work.”

Staff Sgt. Roberto Cuellar, a financial management analyst in the 326th FMC, said he wished they would have had these kinds of events the first time he deployed.

“I think they are a big help in making Soldiers feel appreciated for what they have done,” said Cuellar. “The Welcome Home Warrior Citizen Events really do make a difference.”


Friday, March 11, 2011

ADPAAS For all affected Soldiers/Commands

There are now ADPAAS events called JAPAN EARTHQUAKE 2011 and HAWAII TSUNAMI 2011. Units will be required to use ADPAAS to account for personnel within the affected areas.

We recommend Army commands advise all assigned personnel to update/validate their contact and Family information, so as to ensure a more accurate baseline in identifying affected personnel & their Family members.

The assessment module has been activated to record needs of affected personnel. We recommend those affected to fill out a needs assessment survey in ADPAAS. This survey will be used by Army Reserve Family Program case managers to track and assist Army personnel and their family members who are affected by recent events.

Note: We expect to create more events as each affected area related to the Earthquake in Japan is identified. When this occurs in the absence of official guidance, units should initiate Disaster accountability and assessment via ADPAAS.
  • If you receive any calls please assist callers by accounting for them under the "JAPAN EARTHQUAKE 2011” & “HAWAII TSUNAMI 2011” events in ADPAAS.
  • If any personnel require evacuation assistance, inform them to contact their unit Commander and fill out a needs assessment survey in ADPAAS.
  • Personnel who need assistance should complete a needs assessment survey in ADPAAS and contact the Army Reserve 24-hour Call Center at 866-345-8248. The call center can also assist personnel with individual accountability.
  • As a reminder to ensure we are consistent in properly accounting for our personnel, here is the standard we should be using for our current accounting statuses:
    • CURRENT LOCATION - Individual is currently in place (Hawaii, Japan)
    • DISPLACED LOCATION – Individual evacuated their home location en-route to their safe haven location
    • OTHER - As appropriate, especially those no longer assigned in Hawaii & Japan
Affected Personnel who need assistance should complete a needs assessment survey in ADPAAS and contact the Army Reserve 24-hour Call Center at 1-866-345-8248. The call center can also assist personnel with individual accountability.

Crisis in Japan: Tsunami Update from 79SSC Command

By Capt. Kalen Arreola
79SSC PAO

As you may have already discovered, a large earthquake hit off Japan's coast during the early hours of the morning, killing hundreds living there. News reports have said this is the largest earthquake in Japan's recorded history. 

The Army Reserve is doing its part to ensure its service members are safe and accounted for during this tragic event.

Maj. Gen. William D. Frink, Jr., commander of the 79th Sustainment Support Command, has asked that we use all means necessary to communicate updates to our troops and Families as they are received -- to include all social media platforms.

"There is no report of loss of life for our Soldiers or Families at this time," said Frink, in an email message sent this morning around 9 a.m. PDT. "We are implementing three ongoing lines of effort: assessing the impact and accounting for our Soldiers and Family Members; taking the necessary precaution of monitoring possible tsunami impact as it approaches the West Coast; and preparing to support recovery efforts and alert units as needed."

Frink said communication with Family members in the Pacific region has proven to be a challenge. Text messages are getting through, but phone lines have been busy. Families and troops are encouraged to communicate with the command through any means available, including Facebook, Twitter and this blog post.

"We understand this is a challenging time for our troops and their Families, but we will continue to be proactive in our communications efforts as information comes available to us," said Frink. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Japan and all those affected by this disaster."

For Soldiers needing assistance immediately, the Army Reserve's Fort Family program has sent this message:
As severe weather approaches Hawaii and California the Fort Family Outreach and Support Center is standing by to assist Reservists and their Families. Please know that the Fort Family Outreach and Support Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you when you need us, no matter what the situation. Please take a moment to write down our contact information so that you will have it when needed. Please contact the Fort Family Outreach and Support Center at 1(866) 345-8248 or by email at help@fortfamily.org.
For 79SSC-related news and information or to send messages to the command, visit: www.twitter.com/79ssc and www.facebook.com/79ssc.

Media requesting interviews, contact Capt. Kalen Arreola at kalen.arreola@us.army.mil or 858-525-2498.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Leaders Take Note: Updated FM 7-0, Manual Goes Hi-Tech


By Capt. Kalen Arreola

As we head into the eighth year since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom I in 2003, during Army Transition, much of our operations have adapted to our ongoing mission requirements, so it makes sense that our policies and procedures are evolving as well.

The Army’s Combined Arms Center-Training’s Collective Training Directorate has released the newest version of Field Manual 7-0: Training Units and Developing Leaders for Full Spectrum Operations (FSOs) – and has taken the document into the technological age.

The new manual is designed to support the recently updated FM 3-0: Operations field manual, and is a shorter, 38-page document that is now supplemented by a new online portal. Not only can you read through the paper copy of the field manual, you can log into Army Knowledge Online and access the Army Training Network portal to access videos, documents, best practices, and other valuable resources.

Some of the most significant changes in FM 7-0 include replacing Core Mission Essential Task Lists and Directed Mission Essential Task Lists with FSO METLs. The new manual also emphasizes the need for commanders to collaborate on overseeing unit training, as well as explaining the Training Management Process as an intellectual process that should focus on the mission command concept, versus a step-by-step process to training that exists today.

The online portal also enhances the ability for Soldiers to adapt to changing training requirements and future field manual releases. To find out more about the new manual, visit: http://www.army.mil/standto/archive/2011/02/23/?s_cid=email.

Mothers carry on after children gave all


National organization brings the women together, 
but they don’t sit around feeling sorry for each other, says member


By Sgt. Michael Connors
79th Sustainment Support Command

     They are the women boldly wearing white from head to toe whom you may see gathered at a patriotic ceremony, or at a VA hospital volunteering. The garb of American Gold Star Mothers, as opposed to traditional mourning black, conveys more than personal loss: The white outfit symbolizes honor and glory of a son or daughter who has made the ultimate sacrifice for country.
     American Gold Star Mothers—a national, nondenominational, nonpolitical and nonprofit organization—was organized in 1928 and incorporated in 1929 in Washington, D.C. It finds its origin, however, in a group of Gold Star Mothers formed in Washington, D.C., during World War I. In 1984, it was granted a Congressional charter. Just as relevant today as it has been since its inception, American Gold Star Mothers is both a support group for mothers who have lost children in the military and a service organization that helps veterans.
     Nancy Soltes, a Mission Viejo, Calif., resident and member of the Saddleback Valley chapter, said local American Gold Star Mothers are involved in numerous volunteer activities. These include working at the VA hospital and the Camp Pendleton hospital, sending fleece blankets and cooling vests to deployed service members, and serving as guardians on honor flights to Washington, D.C., for World War II veterans visiting the National World War II Memorial.
     “I would like it highlighted that we’re not a group of women who are sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves,” said Soltes, who lost her son, Charles Soltes Jr., in 2004 when he was serving in Iraq as a civil affairs officer. “Whether we’re down at Camp Pendleton … whether it’s the fundraiser for the cooling vest project, whether it’s making blankets, most of the moms are involved, and their involvement is specifically directed at the military and veterans.”
     Nationwide, there are fewer than 3,000 members in the organization. Soltes acknowledged that many mothers are reluctant to join because of the painful emotional circumstances, but she said involvement helps mothers process and deal with their loss.
     “Making that first meeting is one of the hardest things to do,” said Soltes, “and the whole first meeting is tough … when you tell people your story. Then you look around and you realize that everyone else in the room has been there.”
     After the initial step of joining the organization “there’s a distinct benefit,” Soltes said. She spoke about one mother who only recently joined after 10 years of struggling with the loss of her son. The mother hadn’t known about the existence of the organization until recently.
     “She feels so much better since she joined our group,” said Soltes. “She’s now become involved, she’s a very active volunteer at the Long Beach VA, she’s very active in our whole organization.”
     Soltes also pointed out that, like the woman who wasn’t aware of American Gold Star Mothers until many years after her son’s death, many others may not know about the organization either. She said it may be that chaplains and casualty affairs officers simply may not know of the organization, and therefore may not refer families to it. 
     “It sometimes is hard to get the word out,” Soltes said. “We’ve had mothers who’ve gone a year or two before they’ve heard about us, and probably most of them could have used some extra support during that time. When they finally give us a call or come to one of our meetings, they always feel so relieved that there is a group that they can go with, or people that they can talk with who really understand.”

A badge of honor for family members
     The word doesn’t always seem to get out about the Gold Star Lapel Pin either, said Soltes, which American Gold Star Mothers proudly wear on their white outfits. There are actually two pins issued by the government, the other being the Next of Kin Lapel Pin. The Gold Star Lapel Pin, which has a purple background, signifies the loss of a service member in combat, while the Next of Kin Lapel Pin, without a purple background, is for noncombat loss, such as a training accident. However, mothers eligible for either pin are welcome to join American Gold Star Mothers, according to the organization’s Web site.    
     Soltes pointed out that the pins, which have been associated with Gold Star Mothers over the years, are actually for all immediate family members. If not provided through a casualty affairs officer, the Gold Star Lapel Pin may be obtained by submitting DD Form 3. To obtain the Next of Kin Lapel Pin, if not provided, family members must make a request in writing to the National Personnel Records Center, according to the American Gold Star Mothers Web site. The pins have traditionally been worn with civilian attire, but a recent change to Army Regulation 670-1 authorizes wear of the Gold Star Lapel Pin on the army green uniform by soldiers who have lost an immediate family member in combat.

A home for mothers, veterans
     In addition to supporting mothers and veterans, American Gold Star Mothers is affiliated with American Gold Star Manor in Long Beach, Calif. It provides government-supported housing for seniors 62 or older, with priority going to American Gold Star Mothers and veterans. The complex has 348 independent-living apartments located in a secure 23-acre, park-like setting. Monthly rent is typically $300 to $400, said Terry Geiling, president of American Gold Star Manor.
     “My mantra around here is clean, quiet, safe, and comfortable,” he said. That mantra can be seen borne out at the facility. The grounds are lush and upkeep is meticulous. Residents can maintain their own individual gardens. Amenities include a banquet hall, swimming pool, exercise room, computer center with Internet access, and Internet availability in all apartments. Special attention is paid to keeping residents engaged through activities and outings: coffee and newspapers every morning, computer classes taught by local college students, holiday parties, pancake breakfasts, rummage sales, movie night, bingo night, and even organized trips to outside attractions such as nearby Indian casinos. “This is way beyond a job for me, this is a labor of love,” added Geiling.
     The stamp that Geiling has put on American Gold Star Manor over his two years at the helm can be attributed to his wealth of experience. In addition to serving as a Navy officer, he had a career at IBM working in computer technology, which has translated to an emphasis on having the latest resources for residents. The computer lab, computer classes, wireless Internet access in common areas, and Internet connections in all the apartments has been instituted under his leadership. 
     His experience is also based on living in Hawaii for many years during his time in the Navy. He said that he encourages the Hawaiian concept of “ohana” at the Manor, which could be best translated as residents relating to each other as extended family. To that aim, he facilitates holiday and cultural celebrations in the banquet hall and maintains a tradition of beginning each event by saying hello in a number of languages, a reflection of the diversity among residents.
     For Geiling, however, the verdant setting, computers, and family spirit seem to be just the beginning for this man with a vision for the full potential of the community. He has an eye on making the facility “totally green” as he put it.
     “My motto is we have to keep the Manor green, but we have to make it green,” he said in regard to two of his focuses—maintaining the landscape and adopting energy efficient technology. He is currently working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development on financing for improvements including solar energy, drought tolerant plantings, and automated sprinklers.  “One, we’ll be a model HUD community, and two, we’ll be a model community for the whole area,” he added resolutely.
     Geiling’s vision also includes expanding the eligibility for American Gold Star Mothers and veterans by lowering or easing age requirements. He said he is currently working with legislators to do so. He emphasized that many mothers of recently deceased service members are not senior citizens, but he feels they should be eligible for the Manor nonetheless.
     Ultimately, Geiling sees the Manor as not only an excellent residential community, but as a hub for veterans groups in the area to gather. The grounds and banquet hall are ideal for meetings, ceremonies and parties. “This has been the best kept secret in town, and I’m trying to turn that around,” he said.
     For all Geiling, his staff, and the residents have done at the Manor, perhaps the most appreciated addition is a new mosaic-tiled memorial set off from the main open-grass area. Rising from a pool, columns feature bronze insignia plaques for each branch of service. Water trickles from the top of the columns. At night, accent lights add a glimmer to the water as it makes its way to the bottom.
     “I wanted something that was very dignified and subdued,” said Geiling, “but still had a sense of permanence.”

For more information on American Gold Star Mothers, Inv., www.goldstarmoms.com202-265-0991, 2128 Leroy Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008.

There is currently a waiting list to establish residence at American Gold Star Manor. For more information: 562-426-7651, 3021 N. Gold Star Drive, Long Beach, CA 90810.