Story by SGT Christopher Hernandez on 02/08/2019FORT BLISS, Texas Ever since April 2018, Army Reserve Soldiers of the 210th Regional Support Group, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, have painstakingly functioned as an essential component of the Mobilization and Deployment Brigade Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security at Fort Bliss, Texas. Abiding by the brigade's motto of support the troops,' the 210th RSG supplement their civilian counterparts to deliver logistical and administrative support to pre- and post-mobilization units that continuously rotate through this installation.
One of the crucial segments in the 210th RSG/MaD Brigade, the Soldiers and civilian contractors of the special projects and facilities section, have greatly contributed to the total operation.
"We manage all of the billeting for all (inbound) demobilizing units, mobilizing units, and PMET (pre-mobilization exercises and training)," said Master Sgt. Jorge Coreano, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the special projects/facilities section for the 210th RSG/MaD Brigade "When there are mobilizations, they stay at Fort Bliss for about four to five days. Then, they'll move out to MacGregor or any other base camp after that for about 30 days. We make sure that their billeting is set up, and those buildings that they're going to be staying are operational for them to be housed in. Whatever requests that they have, we will provide that to them."
According to Sgt. 1st Class Miguel Carrasquillo, billeting NCOIC of the special projects/facilities section for 210th RSG/MaD Brigade, his section diligently tracks their billeting metrics and the amount of personnel in the installation on a daily basis.
"So right now in Fort Bliss, we have a total of about 2,267 bedspaces," Carrasquillo said. "In MacGregor, we have a total of 3,374, Westbrook has 1,120, Dona Ana has 1,800, and Orogrande has 292."
More than 40,000 personnel have been processed and taken care of by the 210th RSG/MaD Brigade since the 210th RSG's arrival here, Carrasquillo said.
The section and Department of Public Works staff also conduct safety inspections of all of the buildings at Fort Bliss, McGregor Base Camp, Westbrook Forward Operating Base, Dona Ana Base Camp, and Orogrande Base Camp.
"Service orders are one of the most important things that we do here," said Sgt. Angel Ortiz, facility NCOIC at the McGregor Base Camp, New Mexico. "We work with a lot of personnel, such as facility technicians and labor teams. We're the ones who make the first call to ensure that they fix it, and (that) we have properly working base camps."
One of the greatest challenges that the 210th RSG/MaD Brigade encountered back in April and May 2018 was the mobilization phase of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Brigade, 30th Armored Division, Mississippi Army National Guard. With over 3,500 Soldiers, the 155th ABCT gave the 210th RSG/MaD Brigade a wake-up call and necessitated the need for expansion.
Because of their prior experience, the section has committed to the development of new facilities in Fort Bliss and its respective base camps in order to accommodate greater number of personnel.
"Right now, we're working on different special projects," Coreano said. "We have upgraded the bathrooms, latrines and showers down at Westbrook. It was a $4 million dollar project, in which we started on Jan. 14, 2019 and been working on the electrical, water and gas setup."
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Herminio Romero, facilities and special projects officer for 210th RSG/MaD Brigade, stated that the prior amenities for Westbrook FOB were substandard and not in accordance with Army regulation.
"The connexes were at the end of their lives and had a lot of rust," Romero said. "The previous RSG (644th RSG) initiated a request to change the connexes, and the execution for the project started in Dec. 20, 2018. (Westbrook) is a 1,200 Soldier FOB, and so for every Soldier, there were only 40 showers. So now we have over 120 showers and 120 toilets for the whole camp. By contract, they should be fully functional by Feb. 19, 2019."
Another design initiative by the section is to relocate the Soldier Readiness Processing Center to the old commissary building at Fort Bliss, pending a 90,000 square foot remodeling project.
"The SRPC was constructed back in 1952," said Romero. "The building was not suitable for our mission, as there are no proper waiting areas and (the SRPC staff) had to create a lot of overflow all around the building to be able to manage 500 Soldiers. So, the Corps of Engineers and our contractors were awarded the design contract. At this point, it has been estimated at $13 million dollars to do this project, and we're at 35 percent completion of our design."
Romero further emphasized how critical the new SRPC project will be for the future success of the MaD Brigade and incoming Army Reserve RSGs.
"There are only two MFGIs (Mobilization Force Generation Installations) in the United States, which are Fort Hood and Fort Bliss," Romero said. "However, we're the only ones who can manage ABCTs. Now, with this new facility, we'll be able to manage them much better. I will say that the new SRPC will be a great legacy for us in the 210th RSG."
Overall, the Soldiers of the special projects and facilities section have made many significant accomplishments. For Soldiers such as Ortiz, the 210th RSG/MaD Brigade operation has benefitted him on a professional and personal level.
"This has been a great experience, as this is my first deployment that has been full of knowledge and hand-to-hand experiences with other Soldiers," Ortiz said. "We're a good team, we take care of each other, and take care of the base camps."
Although the 210th RSG nears the end of its mobilization here, the unit nevertheless remains dedicated to their mission to support the Fort Bliss mobilization station.
"Our priority mission has and always been to support the troops, and we haven't failed at that ever since the beginning," Carrasquillo said.