329th RSG Soldiers conduct staff planning exercise

Soldiers assigned the Virginia National Guard's Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group discuss the Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, or JRSOI, process in support of hurricane response operations during a staff planning exercise July 25, 2016, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers assigned the Virginia National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group discuss the Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, or JRSOI, process in support of hurricane response operations during a staff planning exercise July 15, 2016, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

CAMP PENDLETON, Va. — Soldiers assigned the Virginia National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group conducted a staff planning exercise focused on Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, or JRSOI, in support of hurricane response operations July 14-16, 2016, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force personnel from the Virginia National Guard joint staff acted as the higher headquarters for the exercise.

“The training presented two fantastic opportunities for the 329th Regional Support Group,” said Col. K. Weedon Gallagher, commander of the 329th. “We exercised our battle staff on a JRSOI, which is a significant mission essential task, and we also helped validate the new Multi-Purpose Training Facility at Camp Pendleton.”

In the exercise scenario, National Guard forces from other states are requested to assist with state emergency response efforts after a hurricane impacts the Hampton Roads region. The JRSOI process ensures those units are properly fed, fueled, accounted for and moved to their appropriate mission location when they come to Virginia.

With many Soldiers recently assigned to the 329th RSG staff, the exercise provided an opportunity for them to work together on the military decision making process as well as learn more about the JRSOI mission and what’s required to support it, explained LTC Rob Shipman, deputy commander for the 329th. He said that by the end of the exercise, everyone had a much better idea what would be needed to make JRSOI successful. The staff was able to identify where they could improve processes like reporting procedures and maintaining a common operating picture. It also helped them better understand the information technology requirements for the mission, including number of workstations needed and bandwidth required.

“The opportunity to train a brigade battle staff on mission essential tasks simply can’t be overstated.” Gallgher said. “Typically, brigade battle staffs are focused on mission command of subordinate subordinate battalions and companies, but for this training we were able to focus on the staff itself and our own ability to contribute during a domestic operations event.”

Gallagher explained that the JRSOI mission is completely transferrable between the the group’s state and federal missions. While this training focused on a domestic operation, the JSRSOI tasks of receiving, training, equipping and moving forward units are also essential in an overseas area of operations.

“Our battle staff hasn’t been together very long, so this exercise afforded us the opportunity to grow as a team,” he said. “We’re looking forward to our critical role in Vigilant Guard 2018, a large-scale domestic operations exercise to be hosted in Virginia. “We have 53 training days between now and VG 18, and this exercise has set our glide path to success in that multi-state exercise.”

The exercise was conducted in the new Camp Pendleton Multi-Purpose Training Facility as part of the final test runs being conducted before the official opening of the facility.

“The Camp Pendleton Multi-Purpose Training Facility performed very well and met our needs,” Gallagher said. “It provides isolation from distractions during the exercise, has good connectivity and offers a very convenient venue that’s easy for our Soldiers to get to. In addition, training at Camp Pendleton affords the benefit of billeting on post. The new facility increases the training capacity of Camp Pendleton, and I’m sure that this will make SMR a very attractive venue for units outside of the Virginia National Guard.”

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