KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – A group of senior leaders, led by the commanding general of United States Army Europe, visited the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade to learn more about the unit’s capabilities and accomplishments.
Lt. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges visited Soldiers of the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade during a visit to Daenner Kaserne on July 9. Other senior leaders who attended included Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. David Conboy, the deputy commanding general - operations from the United States Army Reserve Command and Command Sergeant Major James Wills, the Army Reserve's senior enlisted leader.
361st leaders and Soldiers briefed Hodges on various aspects of the command’s capabilities and recent accomplishments. Soldiers from the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade and subordinate units briefed.
The 773rd Civil Support Team, the only such unit in the Army Reserve, showcased the unit´s consequence management capabilities during the outdoor tactical briefing featuring the newest equipment fielded by the unit.
“The purpose of this briefing was twofold: To provide Lt. Gen. Hodges with greater situational awareness of the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade; and to back-brief him on how the 361st is working to support the five pillars of a STRONG EUROPE and his STRONG EUROPE 2016-2017 guidance,” said Col. John Novak, the brigade commander.
The briefings highlighted current and projected partnerships; Humanitarian Assistance and Humanitarian Civil Assistance civil affairs assessments conducted from 2012-2015; the brigade’s culturally attuned, linguistically diverse, experienced Soldiers; and how all of the unit’s actions are nested within the five pillars for STRONG EUROPE, he added.
“The brigade fits into USAREUR’s STRONG EUROPE plan by providing trained and ready civil affairs teams and companies, movement control teams, the only civil support team in the Army Reserve, and human resource and engineering professionals to Army Europe,” Novak said.
These capabilities give the 361st CA BDE the unique flexibility to assist commanders in all phases of joint operations and some areas of Army Support to Other Services, said Maj. Nathan Gardner, the brigade’s current operations officer.
“Some of our young service members showcased their unique cultural, linguistic and civilian skills that we bring to the fight, and many were recognized by Lt. Gen. Hodges for their service,” he said.
It was a busy day for the Soldiers of the 361st Civil Affairs brigade, and the 7th Mission Support Command. The units conducted a change of command ceremony to welcome the 7th MSC’s newest commander, Brig. Gen. Steven W. Ainsworth just hours before the senior leaders visit.
Hodges emphasized the U.S. Army and Army Reserve’s strategic role in Europe against both conventional and unconventional threats.
Hodges also spent time the Soldiers, asking detailed questions about training readiness and Army standards. He also gave praise and encouraged active dialogue with the Soldiers he spoke with.
“I'm always trying to learn, even in my old age,” said Hodges.
Making suggestions to improve the camouflage netting draping the vehicles arrayed before him, Hodges stressed the continued need for the strategic positioning of U.S. Army and Reserve forces in Europe.
He reminded the Soldiers, many of whom were seasoned in conflicts against unconventional combatants in South East Asia, not to forget that there are potential conventional adversaries facing the United States and to be tactically ready for those threats too.
“They may have planes or drones and if they find you, they´ll put a rocket on you,” warned Hodges.
Hodges’ visit was very positive, Novak said.
“He is an insightful, personable, and caring senior leader focused on leader development and fostering a learning organization throughout Army Europe,” he said. “I believe that Lt. Gen. Hodges was generally pleased with the four hours he spent learning more about the brigade, its amazing soldiers, and its activities in support of STRONG EUROPE.”
* Maj. Daryle Sewell also contributed to this report.