CCP team preps for disaster response

| November 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Story and photo by
Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson
U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER — Nations in the Pacific region deal with changing weather patterns on a yearly basis. Some of these changes will funnel in heavy rains, hurricanes, tsunamis and typhoons, along with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

The U.S. Army-Pacific and the Pacific Command has a team prepared to assist the Pacific region during these disastrous situations.

The Contingency Command Post (CCP) is a rapid response team capable of deploying within 24 hours of a major event.

A diverse element of USARPAC and PACOM trained and prepared to face disasters and humanitarian crises, the CCP is comprised of more than 100 Soldiers, with various military occupational specialties, adding to the versatility of the team.

“The Contingency Command Post came about because there was a real need while we were supporting two different theatres in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Col. Thomas Kunk, deputy chief of staff, CCP.

“There was a need to have an element to come out and support other countries around the world,” Kunk explained.

The CCP is broken down into three elements, and each element can operate independently of one another or deploy as a larger contingency. Soldiers assigned to the team remain on call to help if needed.

The organization is currently going through a restructuring, increasing the unit’s capabilities and manpower.

“Working with the CCP and the Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (HAST) is great,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jeremy Drage, operations officer, HAST.

“I believe we’re in the best position,” Drage continued. “This is the best thing that we can do, being centrally located within the Pacific. We have the capabilities to assist and get to places quickly, if called upon. These teams are very important, and I think we need to have more.”

The CCP, along with the HAST, has a very unique mission that involves creating disaster plans with nations and determining what assistance would be needed before disaster strikes.

“It’s important to have professional Soldiers who know how to operate the equipment and are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice wherever and whenever our nation needs us to go,” said Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, USARPAC.

“This is part of what U.S. Army-Pacific does as a member of the joint team called PACOM,” Brooks noted. “This capability that we have is similar to what was committed into the Philippines right now.”

Soldiers and leaders with the CCP constantly train on equipment and conduct disaster relief exercises and exchanges with partner nations throughout the year.

“Being well-trained almost guarantees the success of our mission,” said Kunk. “Our particular skill sets are perishable, so we have to remain ready. At any time we could get that call, and what we do can help determine the outcomes of nations we work with.”

As the organization continues to train and remain ready to provide relief, the unit provides unique opportunities for the Soldiers.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I got to the team; it was new to me, but I was looking for an experience,” said Spc. John Miles, information specialist, CCP. “I can say I got that experience and more. I’m glad I got this experience; we’re truly doing great things.”

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Category: News, Training

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