USARPAC team attains FOC status
January 6, 2011
Story and Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin P. Bell,
U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post Public Affairs
A C-17 Globemaster crew member from the 535th Airlift Sqdn., guides a humvee belonging to the USARPAC CCP DAT B, off of a C-17, Dec. 7.
FORT SHAFTER — The U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post’s Deployable Assessment Team B, a new concept to the theater Army, is ready for contingency operations after Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander, USARPAC, certified the team fully operational capable, here, Dec. 22.
The DAT B completed a certification exercise that consisted of convoying, loading and flying via a C-17 Globemaster from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to the Big Island, Dec. 7-10.
“This is the first time that the entire DAT B, with all of its equipment, had gone through the alert procedure, marshalling, conducting joint inspections, loading a C-17 and actually flying to another location,” said Maj. Keegan Leonard, DAT officer in charge, USARPAC CCP. “(Then) doing it all in reverse, conducting tactical movement to … our tactical operations center, assessing the situation there, developing a course of action, and how … (to) do our assessments.”
The team deployed as part of an exercise scenario that simulated a tsunami strike to Hilo.
The DAT B is a team of 23 Soldiers who must be ready to rapidly deploy anywhere in the USARPAC area of responsibility to assess a crisis or disaster. The team can also deploy in a smaller module with nine personnel called DAT A, depending on the size and scope of the mission.
Whatever the size, within 24 hours of a disaster, a team of specialized experts must be en route. Each member serves a specific job function, but because the team is small, all must also apply tactical skills and work together regardless of rank.
“Our main focus is to provide assessment for the USARPAC commander based on the inherent skills set we have within our team,” Leonard said. “Whether (it is an) engineer, medical, aviation, field services or logistics (issue), we can tailor that package to provide answers to questions that he might need initially, and that he can then use to assist in planning for his follow-on forces.
“Additionally, the DAT B provides expanded assessment capability, begins initial … deployed/assigned assets and determines where the footprint for the expanded operational mission of the CCP is going setup,” Leonard said.
During the exercise, the team moved from Hilo to Pohakuloa Training Area, which sits between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa mountains. The team established communications with the CCP here, within minutes, using a combination of civilian and military communications systems. Within two hours, the team established a functioning workspace in several tents and was providing assessments to USARPAC.
“Conducting an assessment of the Hilo airport, harbor and road networks improved the logistics cell’s ability to conduct real-world assessments in support of humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions,” said Lt. Col. John Wimberley, DAT logistics officer.
“I believe the exercise allowed the DAT B to come together as a cohesive element and practice in a realistic environment,” he added. “I am confident that the DAT B can deploy on a moment’s notice anywhere in the Pacific (area of responsibility) and execute our mission in support of the USARPAC commander’s intent.”
“This mission was a tremendous success. The hardest thing was to alert, assemble and rapidly deploy, within 24 hours, the initial footprint of an expandable command post,” said Col. Marlin Remigio, CCP director of operations. “For a real-world event, it’s easier to get off the island because the assets will be provided to you. It’s harder to get the assets for training, specifically, the aircraft. During this flyaway, we executed the procedures needed to work with the Air Force.”
The 535th Airlift Squadron, stationed at JBPH-H, used the flights to train crews on aircraft loading procedures, and, while on the flight to the Big Island, practiced a tactical descent in which the plane dropped more than 15,000 feet in just a few minutes.