DEVENS — “Atropian” maps taped to gray temporary walls and a maze of blue cables that snaked among the tables was the backdrop for the 94th Regional Readiness Command’s (RRC) staff exercise.
”Attention in the (Joint Operations Center), attention in the (Joint Operations Center). A 20-ton crane has collapsed damaging a bridge and injuring soldiers,” said the battle captain, mobilizing the Joint Task Force staff into action in the first hour of the exercise, which took place from March 31 to April 2.
Like ants gathering around a piece of candy, the staff huddled around large map tables. Group discussions using the military decision-making process spurred the individual directorates to gather information on many “significant acts” that occurred.
The Fifth Joint Task Force acted as the white cell, which acted as higher and subordinate commands, circulated information based on requests for information and information gathered at the location of the significant act.
When the local area network was slowed because of the enormous amount of e-mails generated by an automated response to events being dropped in a directorate’s folder, the staff switched to butcher board papers and notepads.
Action was swift by the 94th RRC G-6 to help soldiers map to printers, configure to the X drive and numerous other software glitches, which were corrected on the spot.
Designed to imitate a combat operational environment with real-world missions like qualification with the M9 pistol, Sexual Assault Awareness training and work on the Army Reserve Transformation plan, the operational tempo was fast-paced.
During the Battle Update Brief (BUB), briefers were grilled by Brig. Gen. Glenn Lesniak, the 94th RRC deputy commanding general, on their BUB slide facts. Lesniak then directed the directorates on how he wanted them to proceed with the information they presented to him.
An earthquake hit Atropia, and the mission turned humanitarian in nature. The staff responded with water and food drops to the affected area using supplies they already had in stock.
”Luckily, we had good weather according to the J2 so we could use our aviation assets,” said Lt. Col. Walter Ronten, 94th RRC G-4. “Without the helicopter lift capability we could have had a humanitarian disaster.”
This was the first time the staff had worked together on an exercise of this magnitude. It was deemed successful by the 94th RRC commanding general.
”We got a solid crawl, which is a success, and we made a great first step. I appreciate the hard work and the involvement,” said Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich, 94th RRC commanding general. “Hats off, good job. You should be pleased with yourselves.
”We need to find a way to grow this exercise. It absolutely met my expectations,” he said. “There is a lot to (the staff exercise). There is a lot to improve on. It is not simple stuff. Bottom line: Laich is happy.”