322nd CAB makes history with RIMPAC, establishes first unconventional coordination center

| July 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

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Story and photos by Capt. Liana Kim
322nd Civil Affairs Brigade

 

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — In only five days, a small team of 10 Pacific Army Reserve Civil Affairs Soldiers set up the very first Civil-Military Operations Center (CMOC) in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Rim of the Pacific 2016 humanitarian aid / disaster relief (HA/DR) exercise, July 5-15.DSC_0389

“Participating in this exercise that simulates such a large event has really brought our group together to utilize our full mission capabilities, and helps us understand our roles in finding solutions to support a HADR mission,” said Staff Sgt. Joan Velasco, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 322nd CA Brigade’s administrative team during CMOC set up.

The 322nd team, supplemented by Soldiers from the 351st CA Cmd., 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion and the 962nd Quartermaster Company (Mortuary Affairs), successfully facilitated civilian-military coordination between U.S. Forces Japan, the Japan Ground and Maritime Self-Defense Forces, and non-governmental agencies responsible for administering civilian foreign aid, such as the International Red Cross, the U.S. Agency for International Development and others throughout the RIMPAC HADR exercise.

“This is the first time that a Civil Affairs brigade established an unconventional operational CMOC for a joint and combined maritime exercise,” said Lt. Col. Julia Hayden, who took the lead in planning the CMOC, a monumental task that took more than 12 months of detailed coordination with the numerous organizations it would support. While tactical CMOCs are a more traditional set up for the unit, she welcomed the chance for her team to demonstrate their ability to adapt and fulfill the needs of the exercise.

DSC_0455“This has been an incredible opportunity for Civil Affairs Soldiers to participate in RIMPAC, the premier joint and combined maritime exercise to promote regional stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Stockel, commander, 351st Civil Affairs Command in Mountain View, Calif., to which the 322nd is operationally assigned.

The CMOC proved to be a successful means of handling unconventional HA/DR operations and strengthened 322nd relationships with the 351st CACOM and the 9th Mission Support Command, to which it is administratively assigned. These energized relationships drastically increase the effectiveness of Civil Affairs support of PACOM’s theater security cooperation exercises.

“The 322nd is the most forward deployed Civil Affairs unit in the Pacific; it is extremely action oriented and contains highly respected, specialized professionals,” said Col. Timothy Clemente, intderim commander, 322nd CA Bde., during the unit’s relinquishment of command ceremony on the Field of Heroes at the Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Army Reserve Complex, Fort Shafter Flats, June 26.

The mission of the brigade is to provide operational level commanders in the U.S. PACOM Area of Operations the capability to engage the civil component of the operational environment by enabling, shaping, and managing civil affairs operations in support of HA/DR, the theater security cooperation plan, and defense support to civilian authorities.DSC_0438

“The units and agencies that we were able to connect here have expressed the need for a CMOC like this one during the next RIMPAC exercise to be conducted in Hawaii in 2018,” Hayden said. “This has been an exciting experience supporting such an incredible cause, and a great training opportunity for our Soldiers of low-density occupational specialties.”

With an extremely high operational tempo, the 322nd CAB has supported more than 10 exercises throughout the region in the past two years, and is currently conducting a joint deployment exercise in Riverside, Calif., to further enhance individual and collective training and unit readiness.

“We have demonstrated our unique capabilities to facilitate military-civilian coordinated support for the RIMPAC commander’s intent to promote regional stability in the Pacific and foster multi-national cooperation and trust,” Stockel said. “And we look forward to future opportunities to assist in enhancing interoperability, enabling professional engagement, and achieving respective national objectives to build capable and adaptive coalition partners.”

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Category: Exercises, News

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