Humanitarian aid, disaster relief, joint training among deliverables
FORT SHAFTER — The U.S. Army Pacific Contingency Command Post, or CCP, and members of the 311th Signal Command and 25th Infantry Division deployed to Tonga, Sept. 21, to support operation “Coral Reef,” a weeklong exercise.
The multinational, combined, joint exercise involved members of the military of Australia, New Zealand, the Kingdom of Tonga and the U.S.
This exercise is designed to validate USARPAC’s contingency capabilities. An added benefit of the training is the opportunity to participate in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and combat skills training.
“This is a great opportunity for the CCP to test our capability and also learn from our Pacific partners, something we can’t duplicate practicing … by ourselves here in Hawaii,” said Maj. Curtis Armstrong, exercise planner, Coral Reef.
Prior to deploying, CCP personnel practiced their alert and deployment procedures, here. Personnel with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, USARPAC, exercised their ability to get CCP personnel and equipment to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, so they could depart for Talia Military Camp, Tonga, on a C-17 aircraft.
Once deployed, members of the 311th Sig. Cmd. provided enhanced communications capability, and Soldiers from the 25th ID Quick Reaction Force, or QRF, provided security. This mission was the first time 25th ID Soldiers had exercised a security mission with USARPAC’s CCP.
“During a real-world event, the 25th ID QRF would be tasked with providing a security team,” said Sgt. Maj. Christopher Grant, CCP. “But, as there is no need for security during the exercise, we worked it out so the 25th Soldiers can conduct combat skills training with a group of Tongan soldiers who are heading to Afghanistan soon.
“This allows them to ensure that they get their ducks in a row for a deployment with the CCP, while simultaneously assisting their Tongan counterparts in preparing for their wartime mission,” Grant added.
Also, the CCP executed conduct assessments on infrastructure in Tonga, particularly the ports, as well as health and medical assessments.
The purpose of the CCP is to be the first-responder unit in the Pacific if a nation requests U.S. support for disaster relief or humanitarian assistance. This contingent can deploy anywhere in the Pacific within 24 hours.
Due to the frequency of natural disasters in the Pacific region, the CCP often focuses on small-scale contingencies, such as supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
It’s a flexible organization that can tailor personnel and equipment to fit a multitude of missions, with teams ranging from seven personnel to more than 120 service members.