Story by MAJ Ebony Gay on 02/07/2019FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico The 1st Battalion, 333rd Regiment (Multifunctional Training), formerly the 5th Battalion under the 94th Training Division-Force Sustainment, gathered here for the 1st Mission Support Command transformation integration ceremony hosted by Brig. Gen. Dustin Shultz, 1st MSC commanding general, on Dec. 9, 2018. At the ceremony, the battalion transitioned from under the 94th TD-FS to the 1st MSC footprint. The 1-333rd was among several units that were integrated into the 1st MSC infrastructure. The 1st MSC is the largest federal U.S. Army command in the Caribbean.
During the ceremony, Shultz spoke about the honorable service of the 1st MSC Soldiers, the wearing of various patches, and the unification of her command units under one cohesive infrastructure.
"Up to this point, all reserve Soldiers in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have honorably served the needs of the nation, wearing different patches or insignias on our uniform sleeves," said Shultz. "As we continue treasuring the opportunities that the present offers to innovate, improve our organization, and to shape the future, we are currently immersed in the transformation of our command, where the 1st MSC will become the Army geographical command of the Caribbean."
Shultz also spoke about the multiple skills of the reserve Soldiers in Puerto Rico. She said that the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico has thousands of citizen-Soldiers with highly technical, specialized, and professional skills in a wide range of career fields. As a result of the transformation and integration, they are now unified under the 1st MSC's patch to carry out missions across the world.
"Now, under the Garita patch, all together as one Army Reserve Family, as one team, we remain vigilant and ready to continuously perform our mission around the world and in Puerto Rico," said Shultz.
For Shultz, it is critical that the extraordinary accomplishments, devotion to duty, and sacrifices of the 1st MSC Soldiers and their Families are recognized as the unit shapes its future and celebrates the transition of the 1st MSC Caribbean geographical command.
"We must remember the service and sacrifice of our fallen comrades who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving the nation," said Shultz. "They will remain in our hearts and minds."
"I also realize that each generation of Army Reserve Soldiers serves the nation with honor and distinction," Shultz said. "In the wake of our historical transformation, I am very proud to serve with an exceptional generation of Soldiers who are bright, able, and willing to serve the nation and their communities at a moment's notice, inspired by the previous generations of Soldiers."
Shultz concluded her remarks by stating, "All of us together - Soldiers, Families, Civilians, and you, as members of the community - will continue to shape the future for the benefit of the nation and Puerto Rico."
Lt. Col. Jose Ruiz-Espada is the battalion commander of the 1-333rd and a Troop Program Unit Soldier who has served as the 1st MSC human resources officer since 2015. He shared what the transfer of his unit from the 94th TD-FS to the 1st MSC means for the battalion.
"The transition gives the unit the opportunity to continue doing great things for our nation's greatest asset: our Soldiers," said Ruiz-Espada. "Being able to directly contribute to the overall readiness and lethality of the Army Reserve, serving not only the commands involved but also commanders in the field, is extremely gratifying."
Ruiz-Espada explained that every individual assigned to the battalion represents the finest and most professional Soldiers in the Army Reserve today.
"They (Soldiers) generate readiness, not only for the largest federal Army command in the Caribbean but for the most lethal and ready Army Reserve forces we have ever seen," said Ruiz-Espada. "I always say to our Soldiers, Good leaders don't create followers; they create more leaders.'"
For Ruiz-Espada, focusing on creating more leaders while passing on their operational experience in the classroom is vital. He explained that this will help students better adapt to the continually changing environment. He believes his instructors contribute to the equation of being aligned under the 1st MSC, along with professionalism, commitment, and the ability to continue fostering lifelong learning in and outside the classroom.
With the realignment of the 1-333rd to the 1st MSC completed, Ruiz-Espada explained various ways the 94th TD-FS continues to provide training support to the 1-333rd.
"We are here to continue to do business," said Ruiz-Espada. "The main courses we will continue to provide are Human Resources Specialist and Mortuary Affairs Specialist, from the basic courses all the way to the Senior Leader Courses."
Brig. Gen. Stephen Iacovelli, 94th TD-FS commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Sharon Campbell, 94th TD-FS command sergeant major, attended the 1st MSC's transformation ceremony. Iacovelli shared his thoughts on the importance of the 1-333rd being embedded under the 1st MSC.
"This is going to be a big plus for readiness for the battalion," said Iacovelli. "Specifically in the area of assigned strength, being part of the 1st MSC will allow increased opportunities for Soldiers in the 1-333rd to move in and outside their unit and for qualified Soldiers to become instructors."
"I think we're going to have more of a revolving door where we're going to have our Soldiers serve in non-instructor positions to work in their primary military occupational specialty," said Iacovelli. "This will give operational Soldiers the ability to work on the institutional side and pick up that additional identifier as an instructor. I think it's going to be a win-win situation from the instructor-strength and recruiting point of view."
The 94th TD-FS has assigned two of its brigades to assist the 1-333rd. The 94th's 1st Brigade handles quartermaster training. 4th Brigade handles personnel services training. These brigades continue to work with the 1-333rd in managing the quotas they teach, instructor certification, and management of the Army Program for Individual Training mission.
"The 1st MSC has stood up a provisional brigade to oversee the various units assigned to them as part of the transformation process, which the 1-333rd will report to directly," said Iacovelli. "In essence, the 1-333rd will have three brigade headquarters working with them and taking care of them, in addition to two one-star level commands. I think from a readiness and resource point of view, they're in much better shape now than before the transition to the 1st MSC."
Reflecting on the dedicated work involved in the realignment and integration, Iacovelli expressed his gratitude for Shultz's efforts in working alongside the 94th TD-FS.
"I would like to say thank you to General Shultz for her willingness to work with the 94th, while including us in the planning for the transition process," said Iacovelli. "I think her leadership and the way it was reflected in the interactions that the two staffs had together has been great. I don't think this would have been possible without her support. I appreciate all the efforts and am looking forward to continuing working with her going forward on this joint effort."