Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
MAKUA MILITARY RESERVATION — “The lifeline of the Army is training,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia, senior enlisted leader, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. “To sustain the Army, you have to train the Army, so any type of training is developmental at all levels. From the lowest-ranking private to the highest-ranking officer, training will always make you better.”
The Soldiers of the 8th STB are no different.
During a typical field training exercise, or FTX, Soldiers shoot, move and communicate from position to position, routing enemies, defending positions and occupying terrain.
However, the 8th STB does not conduct typical missions.
The 8th STB conducted its inaugural command post exercise, or CPX, here, Feb. 27-Mar. 2, to train and prepare its Soldiers for the possibility of a natural disaster anywhere in the Pacific’s area of operations.
“A (CPX) tests our ability to deploy to an austere environment and communicate with our main command post that traditionally will be back in Hawaii,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Goodman, commander, 8th STB.
“We aren’t using any blanks or pyrotechnics; we are simply testing our ability to deploy and communicate and support non-government relief efforts,” he added.
Although hosted by the 8th STB, Soldiers from other 8th TSC units participated in the scenario of a disaster relief effort on the island of Tonga. More than 70 Soldiers from the 45th Sust. Brigade; the 73rd Signal Bn., 45th Sustainment Bde.; and the 130th Engineer Bde. learned about mass casualties, how to engage with civilian media and other situations associated with disaster-relief missions.
The main objectives of the FTX, however, was to test the unit’s ability to deploy, communicate and support non-government relief efforts, Goodman said.
“Looking at our role in the Pacific rim, the 8th TSC is the senior sustainment headquarters in the Pacific,” he said. “Any of those types of scenarios would come down to us first.”
Goodman said that practicing these types of situations are essential to training Soldiers and preparing them for possible events in the future.
Medical evacuation is an integral part of what the 8th STB oversees during a relief mission. Usually working with contractors and not actual Army helicopter crews, the Soldiers got a chance to work directly with Evergreen Helicopters, Inc. on evaluating and evacuating casualties.
“One of the best parts of this training was working with real helicopters,” said Sgt. Samir Kenny operations training noncommissioned officer, 8th TSC. “The helicopter crew was great and answered all of our questions.”
For many of the Soldiers, this FTX was the first time they had participated in an 8th TSC exercise.
“It’s a good experience,” said Pfc. Arlyn Medina-Rivera, 8th TSC. “I am still learning a lot, so this is a great way for me to build upon what I already know and make myself a better Soldier.”
The next 8th TSC training event is set for the end of May at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii.