Pacific Army Reserve supports ‘Ocean Sun’ EDRE

| August 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

Soldiers of the 9th MSC remove their luggage from a pallet after returning from American Samoa aboard a USCG C-130, following the “Ocean Sun” EDRE in American Samoa, Aug. 14-18.

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

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — A dozen Pacific Army Reserve Soldiers deployed to conduct “Ocean Sun” Emergency Disaster Response Exercise at the Konelio Pele U.S. Army Reserve Center, here, Aug. 14-18.

“Training events like this enhance the mission capability and capacity of the 9th Mission Support Command to more efficiently deploy and respond to disasters in the Pacific,” said Lt. Col. Jamie Jones, the Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) coordinator with the 9th MSC.

The Soldiers, assigned to the 9th MSC, formed the forward element of Task Force-East – the first two of four Rapid Deployment Packages (RDPs) the 9th MSC can deploy in support of a request from civilian authorities, depending on response requirements.

These forward-deployed teams assisted in safeguarding military and civilian personnel and mitigating human suffering during the DSCA scenario of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Velma, which notionally devastated the island of Tutuila, Aug. 10.

Chief Warrant Officer Sara Matos, assigned to the 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 9th MSC, labels a map with critical locations during Ocean Sun EDRE in American Samoa, 14-18 Aug. (Photo by Capt. Liana Kim)

As part of Task Force-East, the 9th MSC Soldiers were assigned to one of two functional teams: the Forward Command Element (FCE) and the Early Entry Command Post (EECP). Their three main objectives were to respond, operate and stabilize.

The FCE team supported and coordinated with state, Federal and DOD forces and assisted in developing an initial incident assessment for the commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

“This exercise proved to be a successful means of testing our abilities to respond to disasters from civilian authorities with RDPs,” said Lt. Col. Mark Hammond, chief of Operations for the 9th MSC.

The EECP, which included several Army Reservists who serve in American Samoa, liaised with state and federal planners, conducted control operations and coordinated with the Defense Coordinating Officer/Element (DCO/E) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to respond to mission assignments and requests for assistance.

“This has been an invaluable opportunity for our Soldiers, who gained experience operating outside their normal element, finding solutions to unique challenges and ultimately providing critical support to people in crisis – what an incredible cause,” said Capt. Bryan Durham, a Future Operations officer with the 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and Operations officer for the EECP during the exercise.

“I look forward to building on the momentum we gained during the exercise and improving the overall effectiveness of our team,” he said.

A Soldier of the 9th MSC checks the webbing on a pallet aboard a USCG C-130, before take-off on return from the “Ocean Sun” EDRE in American Samoa, Aug. 14-18. (Photo by Capt. Liana Kim, 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade)

The Headquarters of Task Force-East, commanded by Brig Gen. Doug Anderson, operated out of the 9th MSC headquarters, Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Army Reserve Complex, and provided staff support to the American Samoa elements.

“Training is everything, and everything is training,” Anderson said. “We have demonstrated our unique capabilities to support the PACOM and USARPAC commanders’ intent to provide support throughout the Pacific AOR (area of responsibility), and we remain postured to assist when and where we are needed.”

Soldiers of the 9th MSC deploy to American Samoa with help from the Coast Guard to aid Emergency Disaster Response Exercise.

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Category: News, Training

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