By Sgt. Joel F. Gibson
13th Sustainment Command public affairs
The soldiers of the 13th Sustainment Command Reserve Detachment have shared two deployments, innumerable training hours and office space with the regular Army soldiers of the command over the past eight years.
That shared history came to an end as the unit officially inactivated Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Betty Holm, the reserve detachment commander and G4 for III Corps rear detachment, cased the unit’s colors for the final time.
Holm said the detachment deployed 120 soldiers in support of the command during Operation Iraqi Freedom II and provided 77 soldiers during OIF 06-08.
“During Operation Iraqi Freedom II, I guess you could say they augmented the command with anywhere from privates first class, all the way up to senior commissioned officers,” Holm said. “We supported the 4th Corps Materiel Management Center, Special Troops Battalion and the 49th Movement Control Battalion and provided liaison officers to III Corps.”
“In reality, it would have been impossible to execute the mission without the soldiers of the Reserve Det,” said Maj. Mike Tate, the former chief of plans for the G3 section of the command, who deployed with the 13th on both OIF II and OIF 06-08.
“The main point of when they first developed the Reserve Det was to develop a base of continuity for the 13th,” said Sgt. Maj. David Jacquet.
The Reserve Det served a special purpose for the 13th, but at the same time functioned like any normal Reserve Component unit.
“When the Reserve Det was not deployed, they did weekend training with the 13th, basically, all the pre-deployment training the regular Army soldiers did,” Holm said. “They trained at Fort Hood with the 13th to make sure they were trained to the Army standard.”
“[The Reserve Det] participated in all the exercises the 13th went through,” said Holm, “I also know that at times there were individual augmentees who would deploy with other units in the command. I would say that five to ten percent of the Reserve Det was deployed at all times.”
“They brought much-needed skills to the organization,” added Tate.
One aspect of deploying with a Regular Army unit was the importance of integrating the Reserve Component, and Regular Army Component Soldiers, said Holm.
“We strived really hard to integrate the Reserve Det into the 13th,” added Holm, “You should never be able to tell a Soldier is not a Regular Army Soldier.”
“The level of integration was great because all the reserve personnel went into each section without any problems,” said Jacquet.
Holm said the deployments were especially important for the careers of some Soldiers in the Reserve Det.
“Due to two deployments with the 13th, several individuals have switched from the reserve component to active duty,” said Holm, “When you’re on active duty, it’s easier to stay on, than it would be to transfer from a non-mobilized reserve component unit.”
“As a personal note for me, being able to mobilize with the 13th has opened doors and avenues in the Army community that would have never been available to me,” added Holm.
Like any unit that deploys, there was a rear detachment that existed to take care of the Soldiers and family members who could not deploy with the rest of the unit.
“One of the key things in the base unit at San Marcos was that prior to the deployment in support of OIF 06-08, there were only 26 deployable personnel,” said Holm, “The personnel who filled out the unit were cross-levelled from Reserve Readiness Commands across the country.”
“Staff Sgt. Joy Grooms, the unit administrator for the Reserve Det, was my right arm during OIF 06-08,” said Holm, “Even though the unit was deployed, we still received Soldiers who could not deploy, Staff Sergeant Grooms had to find a way to process and take care of all these Soldiers.”
Grooms, a native of Virginia Beach, Va., who served as the Reserve Det’s Rear Detachment Commander, said, “I had to organize myself and my time, and I actually had one Soldier put on orders to help me with all the paperwork.”
Grooms continued, “We started with a few, but as the numbers grew, so did the responsibilities. We had Soldiers cross-leveled from six different RRCs.”
“[The Reserve Det] went through transformation with the 13th, switching from the Corps Support Command to the Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), which is the reason for the inactivation, as there is no place for a Reserve Det within a sustainment command,” Holm said.
Jacquet added, “I think modularity will enhance the capabilities of the Sustainment Commands because there will be more SCs out there. It should ease up the deployment cycle.”
In addition to the Reserve Det., the 13th SC(E) will also inactivate its Special Troops Battalion and 4th Corps Materiel Management Center in a 10 A.M. ceremony Jan 15 at the command’s Guidon field. The public is invited.