FORT PICKETT, Va. –
More than 25 Army Reserve Soldiers from the Cross Lanes, West Virginia-based 261st Ordnance Company, 321st Ordnance Battalion, 38th Regional Support Group received real-world experience as they supported the ammo supply point at the Virginia National Guard’s Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center for their two week annual training period Aug. 6-20, 2016.
“Working here at Fort Pickett with the Virginia Army National Guard gives us an opportunity to learn about real-world missions we would be responsible for if we deployed overseas,” explained 2nd Lt. Vishnu Valluri, a platoon leader in the 261st. “Our Soldiers are learning how to work and manage an ASP, and we are also getting an opportunity to cross train Soldiers that don’t normally work in an ASP, like our cooks and truck drivers. This is training we don’t often get at home station or during other annual training periods.”
With only three full-time ammo handlers, the addition of the Soldiers from the 261st brought welcome efficiencies to Pickett’s ASP operation, explained Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian A. Temple, the ASP supervisor.
“We run a lot of business out of the ASP, and having these additional Soldiers has made our operation much more efficient,” Temple said.
In addition to the Army Reserve Soldiers, active duty Soldiers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina were also supporting the ASP.
Soldiers from the 261st not only worked in the ASP, their cooks prepared meals in a Fort Pickett dining facility, military fire fighters trained with the Fort Pickett Fire Department and mechanics worked at the Fort Pickett Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site.
Temple said he was very favorably impressed with the amount of work the 261st Soldiers did in advance of the AT and the experience they brought with them.
“They really hit the ground running,” Temple said. “They catch on really fast, and they don’t mind getting their hands dirty. They delved right into it, with no complaints and just drove on with the mission.”
Leaders from the 261st said the training will help them prepare for future mobilizations, which is something they expect considering their unit has deployed overseas multiple times in recent years.
“They have been very gracious in opening up their ASP to us, and they have shown us great hospitality,” Valluri said. “This training has been very real world, very practical and very beneficial, especially for our younger Soldiers. We have learned a lot, and I hope we have laid the foundation for similar training opportunities like this in the future.”
Temple agreed that it is a working relationship he would like to see continue.
“I hope we have set the groundwork to get the 261st or more units like them to come to Fort Pickett,” Temple said. “It has been a great experience, and I am going to be sad to see them go.”