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Training solutions for Army National Guard sustainers: the Sustainment Training Center provides practical technical and tactical training for all types of National Guard sustainment Soldiers.

Last year the Army National Guard Sustainment Training Center (STC) at the Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center in Johnston, Iowa, trained more than 4,000 Soldiers from 52 different units. Since its inception in 1992, the STC has been a leader in providing collective technical and tactical sustainment training and evaluation.

At the STC, battalion staff, field maintenance, multifunctional logistics, and medical training is focused at section, platoon, and company collective levels using the latest theater-specific equipment, doctrine, and logistics systems that support the current Army structure.

The STC provides practical training enhancement solutions for the following maintenance and logistics units:

* Brigade support battalions (BSBs) with or without subordinate units.

* Combat sustainment support battalions.

* Distribution companies.

* Field maintenance companies.

* Support maintenance companies.

* Brigade support medical companies.

* Forward support companies (FSCs).

* Area support medical companies.

Road to Readiness

The training plan for every unit that rotates through STC begins with the unit commander's initial mission-essential task list assessment. STC subject matter experts assist unit commanders with tailoring the curriculum to the unit's Army Force Generation readiness time line and training objectives.

Whether a unit is a B SB headquarters that is building basic staff proficiency in a walk phase or is an FSC looking to achieve run-phase maintenance and distribution proficiency, the center can help the commander set and achieve those goals.

Commitment to safe operations is part of the culture at STC. Along with receiving training on risk management and hazard mitigation, Soldiers and leaders begin each day with a daily safety briefing using the unit-prepared deliberate risk management worksheet specific to each section's operations. Soldiers hone their skills at determining risk levels and assigning effective controls to reduce risk.

Battalion Staff Training

Battalion staff training focuses on supporting the National Guard's Mission Command Training Support Program. The primary focus is training the battalion commander's staff in the art and science of mission command by teaching the military decisionmaking process and how to use mission command systems.

Tactical and technical experts support the overall objective of improving combat readiness for the Army National Guard. Soldiers train to operate these critical sustainment systems:

* Blue Force Tracking.

* Movement Tracking System.

* Maneuver Control System.

* Command Post of the Future.

* Battle Command Sustainment Support System.

Units may also have the chance to conduct collective digital exercises either at the Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center or online.

Functional Area Training

Companies that train at STC have the opportunity to scale each training iteration to their proficiency levels. Each section is paired with an STC collective trainer who coaches, teaches, and mentors the platoon and section leaders to effectively train individual military occupational specialty (MOS) skills.

Fuel and Water Platoons

Fuel and water platoons exercise individual skills during their annual training. MOS 92F (petroleum supply specialist) Soldiers conduct four different types of fuel operations:

* Bulk-to-bulk transfer.

* Retail fuel operations.

* Refuel on-the-move.

* Heavy expanded-mobility tactical truck tanker aviation refueling system operations.

Unit leaders set up, operate, and tear down the equipment at each refueling site. Water sections' MOS 92W (water treatment specialist) Soldiers purify and distribute bulk water. Each water section leader is charged with site selection, set up, purification, distribution, and tear down procedures.

Supply Platoon Operations

Supply platoon operations are trained in the on-site supply support activity (SSA) warehouse and ammunition transfer and holding point (ATHP) training areas. MOS 92A (automated logistical specialist) Soldiers are instructed on Global Combat Service Support-Army procedures for receipt, storage, issue, and turn in. They use both a real warehouse that supports STC's maintenance training functions and a simulated warehouse that supports the logistics package (LOGPAC) concept.

MOS 89B (ammunition specialist) Soldiers train on ammunition load configuration, storage, receipt, and shipment using the Standard Army Ammunition System-Modernization. These Soldiers also learn proper vehicle inspection, load transfer documentation, and materials-handling equipment operations.

During the second week, the supply platoon typically performs sling load resupply using live rotary-wing assets to hook and lift loads.

Transportation Platoons

Transportation platoon leadership is exercised by conducting tactical convoys and LOGPAC operations to resupply FSCs. MOS 88M (motor transport operator) Soldiers deliver commodities that are issued by the unit's SSA, ATHP, or fuel and water platoon. They deliver supplies in LOGPACs to a logistics release point and an actual FSC distribution platoon.

The FSC distribution platoon and the distribution company also conduct a coordinated flatrack exchange in which the FSC delivers the LOGPAC to the notional maneuver unit field locations while the distribution company moves materials received from the FSC back into the SSA or ATHP. The retrograded materiel is treated as theater resupply and entered into the SSA's inventory.

Company Command Post

The distribution company command post is routinely staffed by the operations officer, a truckmaster, and a dispatcher. The operations team monitors and assigns tasks to each of the sections. The operations officer is trained to analyze mission requirements and task each section to facilitate logistics readiness throughout the brigade support area.

The truckmaster is responsible for ensuring accuracy of equipment records, running estimates for the common operational picture, and ensuring continuity of unit operations. Dispatchers use the Standard Army Maintenance System-Enhanced standalone terminal to dispatch equipment used by each section and maintain records accurately throughout the training period.

Maintenance Training

Each maintenance company that trains at STC can scale training by selecting work orders and specific equipment to be repaired. These work orders vary in complexity and challenge all aspects of shop and field maintenance.

Maintenance control. Every maintenance control section trains on all aspects of maintenance management operations. The maintenance control officer trains in the use of maintenance status reports to prioritize tasks and prepares and conducts multiple briefings to the STC support operations officer. The maintenance control officer also ensures that the 92A Soldier, while training on logistics systems, properly orders, receives, tracks, and issues parts in coordination with the SSA.

Automotive and track sections. Automotive and track sections train heavily using the current maintenance computer software for troubleshooting procedures in both shop and field environments.

Allied trades. MOS 91E (allied trades specialist) Soldiers train on the new metalworking and machining shop set. This system modernized the Army's machining and welding systems by replacing 24 outdated, unsafe, and unsupported systems.

The STC currently has two computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines and two CNC lathes. It also has a CNC plasma table for use by Soldiers during their two-week training cycle. Soldiers train on computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing software, which is then used to help machine parts.

Armament. The STC armament section has a generously large facility for training MOS 91F (small arms/artillery repairer) Soldiers. The section has a full complement of small arms as well as three M777A2 155-millimeter lightweight towed howitzers. The National Guard has over 95 of these howitzers in its units, which generates a critical requirement for armament maintainers to be trained on this sophisticated weapon system.

Repairers get plenty of hands-on training. The maintenance technical manual for the M777A2 is an interactive electronic technical manual that comes on a compact disc. The disc must be loaded into a maintenance support device that comes with the system. In addition to receiving field-level armament training on the M777A2, Soldiers are taught how to operate the maintenance support device and diagnose faults.

Communications and electronics. Communications and electronics repairers train on the latest communications and optics equipment and troubleshooting techniques. Repairers receive instruction on installing and repairing the single channel ground and airborne radio system and performing diagnostics with the AN/GRM-122 radio test set. Soldiers can also get training on testing and repairing Blue Force Tracking, night-vision devices, and thermal optics.

Ground support equipment. The

STC has a vast array of modern ground support equipment for mechanics to train on. Soldiers receive training on troubleshooting and repairing various tactical quiet generators and environmental control units. Environmental Protection Agency 609 certification is also conducted. STC has an array of construction equipment for heavy equipment mechanics to use to sharpen their skills.

Recovery. The STC recovery refresher training is for qualified wheeled vehicle recovery Soldiers. The recovery teams are integrated with field maintenance teams and conduct skill training on oxyacetylene cutting, vehicle roll-over, winching, and towing operations using unit-specific equipment, such as the M1089 family of medium tactical vehicles, M984 heavy expanded-mobility tactical truck, and the M88 recovery vehicle.

Medical Companies

During week one, the focus is on individual tasks for each specific MOS in the brigade support medical company. The STC's Medical Simulation Training Center focuses on providing MOS 68W (combat medic) Soldiers' necessary individual skills training.

While the 68Ws go through the 48-hour sustainment training, the remaining medical personnel perform individual tasks at a medical treatment facility (MTF), working in departments related to their respective MOSs and areas of concentration. The medical unit leaders participate in the battalion staff training and the military decisionmaking process seminar to learn their roles as leaders.

During week two, the entire brigade support medical company reunites and functions as a role 2 MTF. The focus of this second week is on collective tasks set forth by the commander's mission-essential task list and key collective tasks. The training evaluation encompasses the spectrum, from point of injury and role 1 tactical combat casualty care to evacuation and stabilization at the role 2 MTF.

The Soldiers perform hands-on medical training with the use of very realistic mannequins that react to the medical treatment being performed. The medical training is incorporated into a BSB collective field training exercise that emphasizes both technical and tactical skills. On occasion, weather permitting, air medevac loading and unloading operations are also trained during the second week with live aircraft. This program is the most comprehensive medical training in the National Guard.

Forward Support Companies

FSC training involves many challenges due in large part to the overall complexity of the unit. These units possess sustainers with high levels of technical expertise in the fields of maintenance, field feeding, fuel and water support, and general supply.

FSC Soldiers work together to meet the logistics support requirements of brigade combat team battalions. The FSC trains to provide logistics support as required, ensuring supplies are available when needed and critical equipment is operational.

Leaders develop support plans and execute daily resupply operations in a tactical environment. The organization is required to provide maintenance support by correctly identifying and diagnosing faults, ordering repair parts, and completing repairs as required.

To add realism, additional fragmentary orders are issued for unplanned resupply and maintenance support. The unit must then determine and adjust personnel and equipment requirements to successfully support each follow-on mission.

FSC training concludes with a culminating event and training assessment. The organization receives an operation order, a subsequent fragmentary order, and associated message traffic.

Subject matter experts evaluate the training for all company-level sustainment units at STC in accordance with the training and evaluation outlines and applicable combined arms training strategies found on the Army Training Network. This evaluation includes specific observations and training recommendations designed to further empower commanders to continue to strive for greater readiness at home station.

After an STC training cycle, sustainment unit commanders will have greater confidence that their units either can support maneuver units to standard or know what training they require to gain proficiency.

Capt. Steven A. Wallace is the support operations transportation officer at the Sustainment Training Center at the Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center in Johnston, Iowa. He has a bachelor's degree from Western Illinois University and is a graduate of the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course, Support Operations Course, Army Basic Instructor Course, and Air Assault Course.
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Author:Wallace, Steven A.
Publication:Army Sustainment
Date:Sep 1, 2015
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