NEW ORLEANS, La. — From a hot, humid military base lined with southern holm oaks on the outskirts of New Orleans, Army Reserve Logisticians from the 377th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) oversee a multitude of missions sustainment, national and international. In its most recent test, the command was called upon for the first time in its history to support U.S. Army northern operations in the oppressive freezing temperatures of an Alaskan winter as part of the biennial joint exercise Arctic. Edge 22.
“Oh, it was cold,” laughed Col. Charles ‘Chuck’ Moulton, the 377th’s logistics planning chief for the event. Moulton recently took the helm as G-3, or chief operations officer, for command and reflected on the team’s unprecedented transition from subtropical to subzero. “It affected all aspects of our operations and was a big challenge for us, but we were able to get the job done. It was a great learning experience and I think we proved that we can be successful in all conditions.
Operation Arctic Edge is an international air defense exercise with participants from the U.S. and Canadian military, U.S. Coast Guard, and government employees from the U.S. Department of Defense and Canada’s Department of National Defense . With roots as far back as Operation Jack Frost in the 1970s and Operation Brim Frost in the 1980s, the event serves as an ongoing testing ground for Arctic air defense and missile operations for American and Canadian forces.
Approximately 1,000 personnel participated in the exercise which ran from February 28 to March 17, 2022 and took place over more than 60,000 square miles of Alaskan airspace in what is known as of Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex. For the assigned soldiers of the 377th TSC, the work began before the first air defenders dismounted.
“We were in the field in early February to set up the exercise conditions,” said Lt. Col. Aimee Torres, G-3/7 Training Readiness Exercises Division Manager for the 377th TSC. “We arranged transportation of equipment and personnel into the theater, as well as arranging many behind-the-scenes aspects like accommodations and meals for the troops that participated.”
For Arctic Edge, this equipment movement included specialized weapon systems like the Avenger short-range air defense system and the Patriot long-range surface-to-air missile system. The 377th TSC pushed equipment into the theater through temperatures that routinely fell below negative 20 degrees.
In its role as the primary logistics support element for the exercise, the 377th TSC is also responsible for the movement of equipment and personnel to the home station at the conclusion of the event. The logisticians will remain in the field for a week after the end of the exercise to organize the closure of the operation.
With an increased focus on regional stability and strengthening strategic security interests in the Arctic, the exercise is expected to re-engage again in 2024. Based on the operational lessons learned from the exercise, Major Matt Fassett, planner of the operations within the 377th TSC, emphasized the importance of adaptation.
“A lot of us came here hoping it would be like what we’ve all done before in the Middle East,” he said. “It’s similar, but it’s different enough that you’re in trouble if you rely solely on that experience. It’s about taking our shared experience and applying it to a similar problem. Some of they overlap, some don’t.
These differences ranged from problems transporting equipment in extremely low temperatures to the risk of frostbite to the soldiers involved if exposed to water or spilled oil. Gazing at the vast expanse of snow and permafrost that surrounds her, Fassett summed up the difficult transition by referencing Dorothy’s bewilderment in L. Frank Baum’s classic novel “The Wizard of Oz.”
“We are no longer in Kuwait, Toto.”
|Date posted:||24.03.2022 15:40|
|Location:||NEW ORLEANS, LA, USA|
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