Story by SGT Christopher Hernandez on 09/25/2018Hours before rays of sunlight blanket the mountaintops of El Paso, Texas, a formation of Army Reserve Soldiers await entry into the Soldier Resiliency and Readiness Center in Fort Bliss. Shortly after this group filed into the building, more Soldiers and civilian contractors arrive on site, with additional groups following suit well into mid-afternoon.
This aforementioned scene details a routine day at the SRCC, which is a critical component of the Mobilization and Deployment Brigade, Directorate of Planning, Training, Mobilization and Security here. The SRRC functions as a joint collaboration between Army Reserve Soldiers of the 210th Regional Support Group and 7251st Medical Support Unit, along with civilian contractors from Gemini Tech Services, the Magnificus-Sterling Corporation, and Luke & Associates, Inc.
On average, the SRCC administratively and medically processes over 42,000 military and civilian personnel a year.
"We usually have days here that we have about 100-200 people go through, but sometimes we'll have 700+ people here in a single day," said Staff Sgt. Mario Rotundo, a wheeled vehicle mechanic for the 210th Regional Support Group, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and an noncommissioned officer in charge SRRC Operations. "It's a lot for the Operations NCOs to deal with, so we make sure that we help each other out as much as we can."
The 210th RSG and the 7251st MSU deployed to Fort Bliss in April to become the latest incarnation of the MaD Brigade, DPTMS. Albeit this is a stateside deployment, both units work diligently to ensure that SRCC daily procedures flow as smoothly as possible.
"Demobilization and mobilization are our main priorities here for the National Guard and Reserve units," said Sgt. Maj. Hector Cappas, the senior noncommissioned officer in charge of SRCC Operations. "For the mobilization process, we have the responsibility to make sure that the Soldiers are in the best shape before they can deploy and perform their duties.
Demobilization is especially important, as we take Soldiers back from their duty and to their home stations," Cappas said. "We have them go through the rehabilitation processso they can go back to their normal lives and their families."
Lt. Col. Steven O. Ross, commander of the 7251st MSU, explains that both Army Reserve units each have their particular areas of responsibility.
"The 210th RSG runs the building operations and they're in charge of the AG, JAG, Finance, and everything else nonmedical," Ross said. "Meanwhile, the 7251st MSU is in charge of all of the medical functions."
Furthermore, the civilian contractors are an integral part of the SRCC process, supplementing the units in their respective functions. Daniel Zambrano, team chief of Gemini Tech Services, and Gayle Otherson, site manager for the Magnificus-Sterling contractors, both explain how their organizations are vital to the overall process.
"We facilitate the briefs for the units, service members, contractors, and everyone else going through the process," said Zambrano. "We make sure that everyone gets all of the information that they need for their purposes."
"We do medical threat briefings, and also send Soldiers to medical screening, where we check vital signs, screen medical records to ensure all deployment requirements have been met, check if all labs are current, immunizations, and PHAs are current," Otherson said. "Also, we educate them on how to get the medical care they need when they get homeand help them understand that they have those options, such as getting them to a Warrior Transition Unit close to their homes."
Readiness is especially key when cataclysmic events unfurl, such as the recent destruction and chaos left in the wake of Hurricane Florence. A group of Soldiers from the 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade, were activated for disaster response operations, necessitating expediency of their mobilization processes.
"These active duty units need to be ready to be mobilized at any time," Cappas said. "Enhanced readiness is one service that we provide so that the active-duty units are ready to go whenever they need to, as quickly as they can."
The 210th RSG and 7251st MSU are slated to maintain their posts at the SRRC until the 653rd Regional Support Group and the 7220th Medical Support Unit replace them in April of next year.
Nevertheless, the synergy between the Army Reserve units and their civilian counterparts remains a critical aspect of the SRCC's operational success.
"We are like a well-oiled machine here," Zambrano said. "Without one or the other, this process would not be successful."