Jersey Guard Deploys To Fort Polk
Story and photos by Capt. Carl Palmer, STARC, PA

Units from the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard deployed to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., for their 2001 Annual Training. In all, more than 5,200 troops from 39 states and Puerto Rico deployed to the JRTC to participate in this year's exercise.

The 42nd DISCOM, Material Management Center managed all the exercise supply assets. No small task considering that before the exercise was over, they issued more than 200,000 MREs, 175,000 gallons of fuel, and 500,000 gallons of drinking water. The center would “use any means available to make sure the soldiers on the ground got their needed material,” remarked Lt. Col. Deborah Allen, MMC commander.

The 250th Signal Battalion’s mission was to provide communication to units in the field so that these units could provide better command and control over both logistical and combat missions. Attached to the 119th CSB was a water purification unit that produced thousands of gallons of drinking water a day.

A detachment of the 253rd Transportation Company operated under the command and control of the 119th CSB. Only a small portion of the entire unit was at Fort Polk, but transportation assets provided a vital function to the success to every mission.

The 204th Weather Flight, New Jersey Air National Guard, gave daily briefings as part of the intelligence and operations section during the exercise. Due to technical problems with the satellite feed that provides the weather reports from the Air Force, the unit was forced to use a satellite dish to get their reports from the Weather Channel (no, they did not use it to watch ESPN).