Down under; 10th SG(R) supports Hamel 18

by Sgt.1st Class Nancy Lugo, 10th SG(R) Public Affairs NCOIC
U.S. Army

TORII STATION, Okinawa, Japan -- Acting as the higher headquarters and logistic taskforce for the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), Indiana National Guard, 30 Soldiers of the 10th Support Group (Regional) (SG(R)) diligently displayed the unit’s motto, “Service Through Support”, through their daily actions while in support of exercise Hamel 18 held in Australia June 4 – July 23, 2018.

Arriving about a week prior to the almost 600 National Guard Soldiers, the logistic support Soldiers coordinated food, accommodation, work space, rental cars and began finalizing the details for the off load of all the brigade’s equipment.

“It should be transparent to them that logistics for the exercise are planned and established before they even get here. Everything is in place and they can focus on their training objectives,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Venters, logistics taskforce officer in charge, 10th SG(R).

As the Guard Soldiers arrived at the Rockhampton, Australian airport they were met by Soldiers from 10th SG(R) working alongside customs officers and the Australian government. They streamlined the process of entry into Australia and processed all Soldiers for accountability.

“The Indiana Army National Guard and the Australian Defense Force built the training event, Hamel 2018,” said 1st Lt. Nicholas Fraizer, Logistic Planner for 76th IBCT. “Our focus is to work together…to overcome obstacles and become a better team.”

After Soldiers and equipment were staged and ready at Camp Rocky, outside the Rockhampton Airport, it was time to move to Shoalwater Bay training area where the exercise was held.

Hamel 2018 is a combined sea and land exercise. It aims to enhance the understanding of the Army’s utility as an effective component of a larger maritime strategy in support of Australia and its national interest.

“Strategic mobility operation is the single point of failure during this exercise,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan Verhine, Mobility Officer, 10th SG(R). “If the equipment doesn’t get off the boat, the unit can’t train.”

The inclusion of The U.S. Army and other coalition partners enhanced interoperability and build readiness.

“Working side-by-side with their [Australian] Soldiers was a great learning experience,” said Fraizer. “This type of training is great for retention and continuing to improve our Soldiers’ skills for different operations around the world.”

At the end of the exercise National Guard Soldiers headed home while their equipment were loaded onto a cargo vessel.

“During the upload of the Ocean Grand vessel [and] Hamel 2018 redeployment, 10th SG(R) opted to use Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) man-power for port operations instead of contracted stevedores,” said Verhine. “This not only created a unique training opportunity for NCOs that would not normally participate in vessel operations, it also reduced the cost of port operations by $10,000. This money will go back into the Pacific Pathways budget ultimately reducing the overall spending budget.”

Working with partner nations, learning new skills and saving the Army money are all great achievements for the 10th SG(R) Soldiers.

“…long after they are gone we are here so we are the beginning and the end for Hamel. We cover everything in between, anything that is logistics related that's us,” said Venters.

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