FORT BLISS, Texas – Chaplain teams with First Army units participated in an annual symposium to strengthen partnerships, discuss resource management, systems requirements, and facilitate spotter trainer/trainer development in view of contingencies of large-scale mobilization operations here September 12-15.
The week-long symposium hosted a variety of subject matter experts/guest speakers to foster teamwork and readiness between First Army chaplain teams and their Reserve counterparts throughout the Army Chaplain Corps. US Army.
Chaplain (Col.) Kevin Forrester, First Army Command Chaplain, underscored the importance of this partnership by opening a World War I quote from General John J. Pershing: “We no longer differentiated in the ultimate sense between the army, the national guard and the reserve. Strengths. All energies are directed towards the development of the United States Army. Our goal is to think only of American citizens and to prepare them for the duties of war.
The more than 50 chaplains and religious affairs specialists discussed Large Scale Mobilization Operations, or LSMO, which refers to the preparation and validation of large numbers of reserve units for emergency operations by through the Mobilization Force Generation Facility, or MFGI, expansion, with support from Army Mobilization Enterprise partners. Currently, First Army operates two “active” MFGIs at Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Bliss, Texas.
“Past symposia have focused on ‘what we [Chaplains] do,” this year’s symposium is absolutely about what we need to be,” Forrester said. “We are focusing on our harmonization with the military. In the past, we focused on preparing for counter-insurgency operations in the Middle East and Central Command area of operations, now we focus on large-scale combat operations and how they contribute to the situation as a whole.
In the event of an LSMO against an even adversary, soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve Component and National Guard will be crucial in fighting and winning the conflict.
guest speaker, Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Thomas G. Behling, Director of the Office of Chaplains, National Guard Bureau; Deputy Chief of Army National Guard Chaplains; and Command Chaplain of U.S. Army Forces Command, emphasized the unique dual mission of the Army National Guard to emphasize the importance of its role in Total Force.
“The Army National Guard has a unique dual mission: the federal mission to maintain properly trained and equipped units available for rapid mobilization in times of war, national emergency, or when needed; and the mission of the state to provide trained and disciplined forces for national emergencies or as otherwise required by state law.
The key to success in the LSMO will be the seamless integration of the three components that make up the Total Force – active, guard and reserve.
“The theme of this year’s symposium is Faith Support for Large Scale Mobilization Operations, which is intended to help train all of our Chaplain Corps OC/Ts on how to be prepared if a large scale mobilization were to occur. our nation’s call to the First Army,” Forrester said. “We encouraged attendees to start thinking about what would be needed if we went to LSMO.”
The forum allowed participants to break down and analyze the requirements and challenges of the LSMO.
“We have to look at this from the point of view of the total army and the first total army; here we have the first army division east; The First Army Division West is here because even though each of our brigades has slightly different missions, we all need to be on the same page if LSMO becomes a reality,” Forrester said. “We need to identify what the needs are as we begin to recognize all of the challenges that the LSMO will present to us, and that allows us to start preparing for the near future.”
At a first symposium, attendees were given a tour of McGregor Range, New Mexico, for a first-hand experience of an MFGI.
“We worked with First Army to plan the symposium by handling some of the logistics on site at Fort Bliss and leading the MFGI Training Operations Tour at McGregor Range where we took the whole group to show them where and how reserve units train, what culminating training events look like, and how the 5th Armored Brigade conducts its training/validation operations to provide participants with insights they may find useful during their process of planning,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Dennis, 5th Armored Brigade Chaplain and Senior OC/T. “The following day, participants worked in groups to develop a standard operating procedure for First Army Chaplain Section OC/Ts nationwide. Our mission is unique because we focus on preparing OC/Ts while remaining attentive to the religious support and pastoral care of our units when issues arise.
Participants also gained a common understanding of LSMO challenges across the mobilization enterprise and worked to create mitigation strategies to reduce friction points.
“Being from a unit geographically distant from the rest of my counterparts, I appreciated the opportunity provided by the symposium, providing the opportunity to meet other members of the First Army to share ideas, products and experiences/ OC/T practices to improve the organization as a whole,” said Master Sgt. Dominick D. Williams, senior non-commissioned officer for brigade religious affairs with the 174th Infantry Brigade out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst, New Jersey. “Being from a unit where we always travel to train soldiers, the tour led by Chaplain (Maj.) Dennis helped us meet and map our touchpoints to better visualize and plan future training, especially in case of LSMO.”
The symposium facilitated discussions to bridge the gap between geographically dispersed units, serving the same mission, with the same goal of preparedness in mind.
“Coming from the Army National Guard, it was a great experience to speak about the unique role of the First Army Chaplain as an OC/T, which gave me a better understanding of what organization as a whole,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Paul G. Kauffman, assistant chaplain, First Army Division East of Fort Knox, Kentucky. “The presentations forced everyone to think outside the box and highlighted the importance of building relationships with partners to help with planning and future collaborations.”
The desired future state is to achieve the strategic goals of all Chaplain OC/Ts to mobilize and deploy combat-ready reserve component forces, so they can win on a complex, multi-domain battlefield .
|Date posted:||22.09.2022 19:50|
|Location:||FORT BLISS, Texas, USA|
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