21st Reservists fill gap with rapid mobilization

Master Sgt.
Derrick D. Crawford
21st Theater Support Command

Approximately 36 Sol-diers from the 21st Theater Support Command’s Army Reserve element, based in Indiana, were called to active duty for one year Jan. 4 to augment the command and its efforts in support of operations Enduring Free-dom and Iraqi Freedom.

The Reservists arrived at Panzer Kaserne offices Jan. 19 ready to work 15 days after mobilizing. With an equal mix of enlisted and officers, the Reservists will shore up staff operation positions temporarily vacated by active-duty 21st TSC Soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.

This rapid mobilization represents a significant decrease in the time it normally takes to process Reserve Component Sol-diers activated for 12 months, said Maj. Raymond Jensen Jr., 21st TSC Troop Support Battalion commander, whose staff played a key role in the plan to streamline the mobilization process, which can take up to a month to complete.

“No Soldier likes long waits in processing lines, so the sooner we could get that done the better,” said Reservist Lt. Col. Tim Fucik, OIC of the mobilized detachment. “The quicker we can mobilize and deploy, the better it is for the overall morale of the Soldier. But, the real benefit is for the unit and the mission we accomplish at the 21st.”

Planners adopted a different approach to scheduling and executing pre-deployment training and the mass-processing event in which each Soldier completes a myriad of administrative and medical tasks. Instead of going through the entire routine at a Reserve Mobili-zation Center in the states, the Reservists did most of their processing and training at the Deployment Readi-ness Center on Rhine Ord-nance Barracks with the help of staff from the 7th Army Reserve Command (Europe).

“The way we did this mobilization worked for a couple of reasons. The primary one being they mobilized in the theater they intended to serve,” Major Jensen said. “Since it’s not a combat zone, they could do all of their in-processing and orientations in one location. We also looked to find a way to compress the time it took to complete the processing by eliminating redundancies.”

Colonel Fucik sees this “rapid” approach as a model for future mobilizations to Europe involving small numbers of Reserve members.

“This is something very different,” said Colonel Fucik. “This was the first attempt to make the mobilization process ‘rapid.’ We broke the paradigm for small, modular deployments. This wouldn’t work for every unit, but for this organization, it worked very well.”

This is made easier because the 21st TSC, is one of the Army’s multi-component organizations. Members of the Army and Army Reserve fill about 230 positions within the stateside element headquartered in Indianapolis, along with 16 full-time Reserve positions at the command’s European headquarters in Kaiserslautern.

“The link between the active-duty staff sections and their Reserve Component counterparts is maintained throughout the year because we work with them constantly.

They do their annual training here,” Major Jensen added. “You already have those good working relationships.”