Exercise prepares 329th RSG for large-scale civil support mission

Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group conduct operations in support of a National Guard Civil Support mission during a command post exercise May 20, 2014, at Camp Pendleton, Va. Approximately 40 Soldiers of the 329th simulated overseeing their own subordinate units while also setting up a Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, or JRSOI, site at Fort Pickett to receive up to 5,000 National Guard Airmen and Soldiers from outside Virginia sent to provide disaster assistance. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group conduct operations in support of a National Guard Civil Support mission during a command post exercise May 20, 2014, at Camp Pendleton, Va. Approximately 40 Soldiers of the 329th simulated overseeing their own subordinate units while also setting up a Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, or JRSOI, site at Fort Pickett to receive up to 5,000 National Guard Airmen and Soldiers from outside Virginia sent to provide disaster assistance. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

CAMP PENDLETON, Va. — The Virginia Army National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group honed its battle drills for a National Guard Civil Support mission during a command post exercise May 20-22, 2014, at Camp Pendleton, Va. Approximately 40 Soldiers of the 329th simulated overseeing their own subordinate units while also setting up a Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, or JRSOI, site at Fort Pickett to receive up to 5,000 National Guard Airmen and Soldiers from outside Virginia sent to provide disaster assistance.

“The purpose of this key training event was to test both sides of the coin when it comes to supporting a National Guard Civil Support mission,” said Col. Michelle Rose, commander of the 329th RSG. “We are all familiar with the packages that we send out to support the commonwealth, such as security and distribution, but the other side is to provide support to other service members that come from other states.”

The three-day command post exercise simulated a massive hurricane striking the commonwealth, which required the 329th RSG to inprocess up to 5,000 personnel from out of state while continuing to oversee their units throughout the commonwealth. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The three-day command post exercise simulated a massive hurricane striking the commonwealth, which required the 329th RSG to inprocess up to 5,000 personnel from out of state while continuing to oversee their units throughout the commonwealth. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy affected three states and Soldiers from across the United States converged on the hurricane impact zone to provide much needed support to the local responders, Rose explained.

“In this exercise, we are testing our ability to provide the life support needed to make sure those who come from other areas of the country can be accounted for, get what they need, and be sent out to the incident site quickly,” she added.

During the three-day exercise, which simulated a massive hurricane striking the commonwealth, all of the 329th subordinate units were located at their home stations. Then, as the operation continued, the 329th headquarters simulated a movement to Fort Pickett to set up a JRSOI site. While they notionally set up and operated a JRSOI facility for up to 5,000 out of state personnel, the Soldiers of the 329th continued to oversee their units throughout the state.

“We’re exercising how to manage information and operations in a NGCS environment,” said Maj. James Elliott, the 329th RSG support operations officer. “As the operation goes on most of it will take place along the eastern part of the state. But a lot of our transportation capabilities are on the western part of the state.”

The exercise was valuable because it offered the Soldiers of the 329th the opportunity to understand the JRSOI process and work out any shortcomings in the process.

“We are using this exercise to gel together to work out our battle drills and battle rhythm so we’re prepared in case we need to perform this mission in the real world,” Elliott said.

Photos: 329th RSG exercise prepares headquarters staff for large-scale civil support mission – May 20, 2014

Soldiers from the 229th Military Police Company participate in a command post exercise with the 329th Regional Support Group May 20, 2014, at Camp Pendleton, Va. Representatives of 329th subordinate units, such as the 229th MP Company, simulated company and battalion level operations in support of the exercise.  (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the 229th Military Police Company participate in a command post exercise with the 329th Regional Support Group May 20, 2014, at Camp Pendleton, Va. Representatives of 329th subordinate units, such as the 229th MP Company, simulated company and battalion level operations in support of the exercise. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)