Virginia Guardsmen train to move out

Virginia Guard Soldiers from units across the state conduct railhead operations Sept. 19, 2013, at Fort Pickett, Va., during the Unit Movement Officer course. The weeklong course welcomed 37 Soldiers from nearly every unit in the Virginia Army National Guard and aims to prepare the Soldiers for the challenges of moving massive amounts of equipment for deployment or large-scale training events. The course, taught at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute, runs Sept. 16-20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Guard Soldiers from units across the state conduct railhead operations Sept. 19, 2013, at Fort Pickett, Va., during the Unit Movement Officer course. The weeklong course welcomed 37 Soldiers from nearly every unit in the Virginia Army National Guard and aims to prepare the Soldiers for the challenges of moving massive amounts of equipment for deployment or large-scale training events. The course, taught at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute, runs Sept. 16-20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Members of the Virginia Air Guard’s 192nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air Guard’s 181st Intelligence Wing, U.S. Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, and Joint Force Headquarters – Virginia Defense Movement Coordination team recently concluded the annual Unit Movement Officer training course for 37 Soldiers of the Virginia Army National Guard. The course was held Sept. 16-20, 2013 16-20 September at the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute.

“We need to get back to the fundamentals of transporting our own equipment,” said Capt. Frederick Stovall, an UMO course instructor. “This course is the stage for teaching the ‘how-to’ of basic transportation proficiencies.”

Soldiers learned the fundamental skill sets for successfully planning military movement for domestic and overseas mobilizations. Training modules included multi-modal movement planning, essential duties and responsibilities of the UMO, applications of the TB 55-46-1 for technical reviews of military vehicles characteristics, the process for requesting convoys and over-dimensional equipment and center of balance and rail exercises. The course also included briefings from other military branches, including a briefing by Air Guard personnel on U.S. Air Force aircraft capacities and airfield operations, and an overview on the Navy’s unique capabilities by Lt. Cmdr. Mike Pfarrer of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

“We are experiencing a paradigm shift in the expectations of the National Guard’s junior officers and noncommisioned officers regarding their abilities to plan and execute unit movements for [Defense Support for Civil Authorities] and overseas missions,” said Maj. Fred Moore, state defense movement coordinator. “The Virginia Guard is training to meet the needs of the commonwealth through joint training and exercises with our fellow Navy, Air, Marine Corps and Coast Guard partners stationed throughout Virginia.”

Training culminated with a large-scale movement plan, requiring the students to develop a plan to support the flooding that recently afflicted Colorado. Students utilized the military decision-making process, considered commercial and military transportation options, and consolidated all vital information necessary to deploy a Virginia Task Force 1,700 miles to Boulder, Colo.

Capt. Doug Austin, transportation officer for the 329th Regional Support Group, acted as the task force transportation officer, and said, “The inclusion of the Task Force Pegasus Virginia-Colorado flood relief mission added a sense of realism and really challenged our young leaders to think about, and plan for, all the logistics and preparation it takes to move entire units to austere environments on short notice.”

Students enrolled in the Unit Movement Officer course pose for a class photo at Fort Pickett, Va. (Courtesy Photo)

Students enrolled in the Unit Movement Officer course pose for a class photo. (Courtesy Photo)


Story by Maj. Fred Moore, Virginia Army National Guard mobilization readiness officer

Photo: Soldiers gain training on large-scale equipment movement