Sgt. Andrew J. Park,
117th Combat Sustainment
the pile of .50 caliber
brass after firing
practice at Fort Indian
Town Gap, Pa.,
March 22, 2012.
FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – Spc. Angeline F. Stephens's military vocation is human resources; but her military passion is heading to the range with an M4 rifle.
"The smell of gunpowder calms you down … you just block everything out; nothing is important except fundamental skills," said Stephens, who recently honed those skills here during three weeks of pre-mobilization annual training in preparation for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in April with the 117th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
The pre-mobilization training for the 117th was unique for two reasons.
The first was that it was led by full-time members of the pre-mobilization training assistance element (PTAE), not by the mobilizing unit's leaders as normally happens. Sgt. 1st Class Richard Denicola, a senior PTAE trainer said the format allowed the 117th to focus on training while the PTAEs deliver subject matter expert-led training.
"This is New Jersey Soldiers taking care of and training New Jersey Soldiers," said Lt. Col. Paul Rumberger, commander, 117th CSSB.
In addition, the 117th opted to combine 15 days AT with a week of drill days and an active duty week, in what is called a "contiguous mobilization."
"We are the first unit in the state to do a contiguous mob," said Rumberger. "Now we are 'in the groove;' we have a captive audience … this helps take care of admin, (Army warrior tasks), and pre-mob tasks."
The pre-mobilization AT trained 117th CSSB Soldiers in both critical-thinking skills and tactical skills. Critical-thinking training included decision-making exercises and a command post exercise, using systems they may expect to use in theater.
Once deployed, the 117th CSSB will be known as "Task Force Trenton" and execute logistics management missions in the southern region of Afghanistan by directing and managing three transportation companies and one ordnance company to serve the needs of both U.S. and coalition forces in the region. Additionally, the battalion will conduct retrograde operations, facilitating the movement of large containers and rolling stock out of Afghanistan as the U.S. decreases its footprint there, according to Rumberger.