Command spotlight: Navy Operational Support Center|
The mission of the Navy Operational Support Center Rock Island is to provide professional, capable, medically fit and fully trained Navy and Marine Corps reservists to the active forces when called.
The Navy Reserve first made its mark in the Quad-Cities on July 1, 1946, with the establishment of one surface battalion and two surface divisions in Davenport and two surface divisions in Rock Island.
The Navy Reserve of the Quad-Cities fulfilled its primary mission during the early 1950s. During the first 120 days of the Korean War, nine officers and 116 enlisted men reported for active duty. From the period of June 28, 1950, to July 27, 1953, 18 officers and 199 enlisted men served as reservists during the Korean War.
The Marine Corps Reserve was organized at the Rock Island Arsenal in January 1950. During July 1950, the unit was activated and sent to Korea as the 21st Engineering Company.
Navy Reserve Center Rock Island was moved to the Arsenal and housed in a newly constructed building in 1976. Naval Reserve Center Rock Island and Naval Reserve Center Davenport were moved into the building after the commands were merged prior to occupying the building. In 1992, a new wing was added to the existing NRC Rock Island building to accommodate the Marine Corps Reserve.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, more than 200 reservists have been deployed for Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
During the 2006 deployment of Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 25, two shipmates were killed in Iraq. Equipment Operator-Petty Officer 1st Class Gary Rovinski, of Roseville, died in June 2006. Builder-Petty Officer 1st Class Jerry Tharp, of Aledo, died in July 2006. Both sailors were mourned by fellow shipmates at funerals in Galesburg.
In 2007, Navy Operational Support Center Dubuque and Navy Operational Support Center Cedar Rapids closed, as called for in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure report. Sailors from both reserve centers began drilling at Rock Island by the end of 2007.
In October 2010, after a $2.6 million renovation project, the building was renamed the Lane Evans Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center, after retired congressman and Marine Corps veteran Lane Evans of Illinois.
Today, Navy Operational Support Center Rock Island is host to more than 150 drilling Navy reservists who are members of four units. Also using the building are the Marine Corps General Support Maintenance Company, 4th Maintenance Battalion, 4th Force Service Group and the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Quad Cities, Marine Safety Office St. Louis and U.S. Coast Guard 8th District units.
In accomplishing its mission, the NOSC-RI supports the Chief of Naval Operation's strategic plans and priorities; develops clear, concise policy guidance and direction; recruits and retains quality military and civilian personnel and provides them with a supportive work environment; and effectively participates in Department of the Navy planning, programming and budgeting processes to obtain sufficient resources for mission accomplishment.
Additionally, the NOSC-RI supports the Quad-Cities community by acting as a hub for local active-duty Navy recruiters; providing administrative, medical, and logistical support for active-duty sailors in transition from boot camp to their first duty station; providing funeral honors and casualty assistance in a four-state area; providing hospice support to Navy veterans when called upon; and providing joint color-guard support and speakers at Rock Island Arsenal and community events.
$230 million saved in Afghanistan operation
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Personnel from Army Materiel Command's four life-cycle management commands deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom helped save the U.S. Army $230,270,013 during calendar year 2012.
Three of the commands base their reports on 60 percent of the cost listed in the Army Master Data File commonly known as FED LOG. The full value was more than $393 million.
In addition to the direct cost avoidance, money was saved by not having to send replacement parts or equipment to Afghanistan or send equipment back to the U.S. for repairs and reduced intra-theater equipment moves.
Aviation and Missile Command senior system technical representatives and logistics- assistance representatives accounted for $68,152,421 of the total.
They achieved their results by three primary methods: maintenance engineering calls that eliminate the need to return aircraft to the U.S. for repairs, training soldiers and units and retrieving equipment turned in at retro sort yards operated by sustainment brigades and at Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services yards, said Gary Cope, AMCOM senior command representative to the 401st Army Field Support Brigade.
Communications-Electronics Command personnel added $104,772,909 to the total, according to Michael Eaton, CECOM senior command representative.
They helped train soldiers to do repairs and created troubleshooting techniques that resulted in a reduced demand for replacement parts, timely repairs and reductions in man-hours per repair, he said.
The Quality Assurance Specialists (Ammunition Surveillance) and the ammunition logistics-assistance representatives contributed $28.4 million to the total cost savings/avoidance, said Thomas Evans, Joint Munitions Command senior command representative.
"Our cost avoidance is gained by recovering ammunition," Mr. Evans said. The workers inspect and classify ammunition returned by soldiers, and if it is determined to be serviceable, it is returned to the stockpile.
TACOM logistics-assistance representatives deployed to support OEF contributed $28,944,682.88 in cost savings/avoidance during 2012.
"Cost savings/avoidance are part of each TACOM LAR's weekly report and are achieved in the normal course of their daily support," said Keith Hutchinson, TACOM senior command representative.
"Savings can be achieved through training. For example, when a LAR becomes aware that a unit is about to replace a major component and provides on-the-job training on proper troubleshooting techniques," Mr. Hutchinson said. "Frequently during the course of that instruction they determine that the component was not in need of replacement, merely proper servicing."
Submitted by Summer Barkley, 401st Army Field Support Brigade Public Affairs.
Wolfhound warning system helps save lives
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — The Wolfhound Handheld Threat Warning System, named one of the Army's greatest inventions for 2009, gives soldiers an "ears-on-the-ground" capability in a variety of missions.
"Any unit can use this," said Joe Gonzalez, Wolfhound theater lead. "There are specific applications for multiple types of missions."
The Wolfhound system is fielded by Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronics Warfare and Sensors and falls under the 401st Army Field Support Brigade in theater. The 401st AFSB is a brigade under the Army Sustainment Command, which is headquartered at the Rock Island Arsenal.
Wolfhound is a handheld radio-frequency system that is intended to fill the coverage gaps and limitations of traditional systems. It targets command and control nodes of the enemy.
This system provides mission support and force protection, aids in combat search and rescue, can identify and geo-locate spotter positions and observation posts and can be used in both static and mobile operations.
"This is a defensive unit," Mr. Gonzales said.
The Wolfhound support team is divided between Department of the Army civilians and contractors. Some repairs and replacements can be made by the user, but the team provides the bulk of in-theater maintenance, either at one of the eight Wolfhound sites or onsite with the unit.
"We get absolutely positive feedback from the units about the Wolfhound," Mr. Gonzalez said. "They have a changed mindset — it's not just a radio."
His observation was underscored by a field commander who reported the effectiveness of Wolfhound after using it during a mission. According to the commander's report, Wolfhound provided the real-time intelligence the unit needed.
"It saves lives," Mr. Gonzalez said.
Submitted by Summer Barkley, 401st AFSB Public Affairs.
'Operation Slingshot' speeds up departures
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — The Rakkasans are on a "slingshot" course that will lead them straight home to Fort Campbell, Ky.
Elements of 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, known as the Rakkasans, rolled 17 vehicles into the Bagram Redistribution Property Assistance Team yard on Feb. 18. The unit was ready to turn in vehicles to bring them closer to redeploying.
Nicknamed "Operation Slingshot," the Rakkasan equipment turn-in was planned along the model used for the off-ramp of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division in September 2012. Using the model and lessons learned, the Rakkasans built their process by early coordination with Bagram RPAT personnel.
"Our soldiers got to Bagram last night, staged their vehicles and got everything ready for the turn-in this morning," said Capt. Travis S. Hunter, who has been at Bagram for about six weeks to serve as a liaison with AFS Battalion-Bagram, 401st Army Field Support Brigade. "Maj. (Brett) Ayvazian briefed them on what to expect, and then they started the Four Corners process."
The phrase "Four Corners" refers to removing excess classes of supplies from vehicles in one location, as opposed to going to several places to turn in excess supplies.
The 401st AFSB is one of seven brigades that fall under the Army Sustainment Command. ASC is headquartered at the Rock Island Arsenal.
Capt. Hunter said he expected to have the turn-in of the 17 vehicles completed in about eight hours. Lt. Col. James Davis and Maj. Ayvazian were a "big help," and RPAT personnel were able to complete multiple actions simultaneously to expedite the process, he said.
"We completed the first Four Corners operation for the 3rd Brigade," said Master Sgt. Sheldon Mayfield, support-operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "We turned in three vehicles yesterday and the guys said it was 'too easy.'"
"The process is really, really fast when the paperwork is in place," said Maj. Ayvazian. "The paperwork goes inside while the vehicle is still at Four Corners."
Submitted by Summer Barkley, 401st AFSB Public Affairs.
Arsenal history: steam vs. rail, Harpers Ferry
In the late 1840s and early 1850s plans began to form for a Chicago-to-San Francisco rail route, which would cross the Mississippi River at Rock Island, an island under control of the War Department. Southern politicians and railroad men wanted a Southern rail route, but they were not the only ones opposed to the plan for rail through Rock Island.
Steamboat and river-town interests saw the building of any railroad as a threat to their inland waterway economy. The Mississippi River and its tributaries provided a natural north-south trade route for the Midwest's agricultural products and raw materials. The arrival of the railroad, on the other hand, offered Midwest farmers of Iowa and northern Illinois a direct east-west trade route to Chicago and urban markets farther east.
The clash between these two powerful economic interests for control of the Midwest's commercial shipping occurred at Rock Island.
There were quite a few roadblocks involved in building the rail bridge. The first one came in June 1854 when an officer from Washington, accompanied by two U.S. marshals, appeared at Rock Island. The officer notified the bridge contractors they were trespassing on federal property and instructed them to halt operations and remove all property from the island within 15 days. The warning was ignored, however, and construction on the rail bridge continued.
An Act of Congress in 1852 previously had granted right-of-way through public lands to railroads and road-building companies. Assuming Rock Island was public land because there was no military presence there, the M&M Bridge Company assumed the Act of 1852 would protect it. Eventually, after much correspondence, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis ordered the U.S. District Attorney in northern Illinois to begin litigation against the M&M Bridge Company. The two main charges were trespassing on federal property and obstructing river navigation.
Much to the dismay of steamboat proponents, Judge John McLean, an associate justice of the Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the M&M Bridge Company, citing the Act of 1852. Another court case arose after the steamboat Effie Afton crashed into the bridge just two weeks after construction was completed. The ruling, again, gave permission for the bridge to span the Mississippi River. The ruling in this case, however, gave river traffic the right-of-way. This ruling still stands today, explaining why traffic stops on the government bridge when a barge is passing through.
Harpers Ferry Armory in what now is West Virginia is best known as the site of John Brown's Raid. In 1859, Mr. Brown occupied the armory in an attempt to liberate weapons to arm a slave uprising, but his plan met with failure. Seventeen months later, the armory stores were destroyed by Union forces, and that act paved the way for the Rock Island Arsenal to be constructed.
In early 1861, the superintendent of the armory deserted to the Virginia secession convention. On April 17, 1861, Capt. Charles P. Kingsbury was assigned as the acting superintendent. His assignment lasted less than 48 hours.
On the morning of April 18, the day after Virginia voted to secede, word was received that three trains of Confederate troops were on their way from Richmond for the supposed confiscation of weapons and destruction of Harpers Ferry. Capt. Kingsbury ordered small barrels of gun powder be wrapped in soldiers' bedding and covertly taken to where the weapons were stored. Flammable material was placed on top of the powder, and then the men waited.
Between 9 and 10 that night, word was received that 2,000 men were marching on the armory, and Capt. Kingsbury gave the order: The match was lit, and the armory went up in smoke. The explosions and flames did their job where the weapons were stored; at most, a thousand fell into the hands of the rebels. Unfortunately, the gunpowder did not explode in the production buildings, and much of the equipment was saved. Two weeks later, the Confederates moved the machinery to Richmond and destroyed the rest of the armory.
Congress immediately understood the need for a series of new arsenals out of reach of the Confederate forces, including one to supply the Army on the frontier. In 1862, it authorized the establishment of the Rock Island Arsenal.
A team of officers went to Rock Island to survey the land and plan the layout of the new facility. One of the officers was Kingsbury, who had been promoted to the rank of major. In early 1863, Maj. Kingsbury was appointed as the first commander of the Rock Island Arsenal. In 1865, he began writing the Chief of Ordnance, recommending the Rock Island Arsenal be developed to serve as a national armory and foundry to replace the production lost at Harpers Ferry. This was approved.
While Maj. Kingsbury was reassigned before completion of even the first permanent building, his presence created a link between the loss of Harpers Ferry and the start of an even grander production facility at Rock Island.
Submitted by Lisa Sullivan, George Eaton and Kiri Hamilton, Army Sustainment Command Historian's Office.
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