The 1-304th Regt. takes command of the CONUS Replacement Center


Command Sgt. Maj. Walker takes the Conus Replacement Center Colors from the color guard as he prepares to hand them to Col. Garcia the Commander of 5th Armored Brigade during the Transfer of Authority ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas Jan.13. All photos by Sgt. Matthew Griffith, 5th Armored Brigade PAO

Fort Bliss, Texas — Over 100 Army Reserve Soldiers from the 98th Training Division (IET) mobilized to Texas to take command of the Continental United States Replacement Center mission at Fort Bliss.

The Transfer of Authority Ceremony on January 13, 2017, signified that the Soldiers from the Special Troops Battalion, 304th Sustainment Brigade had completed their mission, and that the Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) were now in charge.

To prepare for the year-long mission at the CRC, Army Reservists from the 1-304th conducted weeks of training at their home station, as well as on the ground at Fort Bliss. When they officially arrived in Texas on December 15, 2016, the Soldiers shadowed their predecessors from the Special Troops Battalion to learn the intricacies of the mission. 

After observing the best practices, the 1-304th Soldiers took the lead while the Special Troops Battalion Soldiers observed. This “left seat, right seat” training allowed the incoming Soldiers to observe critical mission steps and ask questions before taking the reins. It also allowed Army Reserve cadre instructors time to complete the same training and validation they would soon be giving to all the servicemembers and contract civilians processing through the CRC before deploying overseas.

Col. Paul Garcia presents Lt. Col. Michael Child, the Conus Replacement Center Colors representing the Transfer of Authority to the 1st Battalion, 304th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade of 98th Training Division at Fort Bliss, Texas Jan. 13.

The instructors were not the only Soldiers completing specific training though. “While our trainers were certified in various areas, our staff also conducted a mission command seminar to better prepare themselves for the mission ahead”, said Lt. Col. Michael E. Child, CRC battalion commander.

The CRC mission is to receive, process, equip, and conduct theater-specific individual training requirements for military non-unit related personnel, Department of Defense civilians, and the non-Logistics Civil Augmentation Program Contactors deploying to and redeploying from theaters of operations in support of overseas contingency operations. The personnel processing through the CRC includes civilian Department of Defense contractors and servicemembers from the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy. The servicemembers come from all military components as well: Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Mark McQueen, Commanding General of the 108th Training Command takes a moment to praise the Soldiers of the 304th Sustainment Brigade Special Troops Battalion Conus Replacement Center on their past 12 months as CRC cycle 4 after their Transfer of Authority ceremony here at Fort Bliss, Texas Jan.13.

With a mission so important and complex, Child said his main goals were to remain quick and relevant. “My plan is to continue to successfully deploy and redeploy those coming through the CRC with a focus on both streamlining efficiency and ensuring that we are providing realistic and relevant training.”

As a multicomponent unit, the CRC is comprised of a large team that includes 115 mobilized Army Reservists, of which two Soldiers are assigned to Kuwait as gateway liaisons to facilitate regular flights, eight Active Duty Soldiers, three Department of the Army Civilians, and nine contractors. The battalion, which is known as Task Force Viper, is organized into two mobilization companies, one demobilization company and a Headquarters Company that is responsible for processing individual administrative and medical holdover personnel along with late arrivals to units currently being trained by 5th Armored Brigade.

The CRC conducts its mission in concert with a number of Fort Bliss Enterprise Partners and gaining command liaison officers. “Deployers will not only receive the required training,” said Capt. Hector Cerrato, Alpha Company commander during his welcoming brief, “but can expect a 100 percent professional customer service experience with a commitment to continuously improving the CRC process.”

As the only CRC in the Army, Reserve Soldiers from the 1-304th said they were honored to take on the responsibility of training, equipping, validating, deploying and redeploying personnel deploying overseas.

Last year, the CRC proudly processed over 16,000 personnel and expect even higher numbers in 2017, said Child. “I am confident we can meet the upcoming deployment and redeployment requirements. Given the amount of expertise across our Enterprise Partners, and smooth transition from the previous cycle, we should be poised to meet the mission successfully and be ready for ‘whatever’s next.’”


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