Story by MAJ Brandon Mace on 07/30/2019FORT DIX, N.J. Signal Soldiers from U.S. Army Reserve companies and detachments with a postal support mission provided real-world support to their units during Postal Warrior 19-1 from Jul 13 to Aug 2, 2019, here.
Postal Warrior 19 is a standalone 21 day, task-focused exercise, designed to train and challenge postal units in the skill sets and competencies needed to support Theater Postal Operations and increase individual and collective readiness. The exercise was planned and led by the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Lt. Col. Carlos Gonzalez, assistant chief of staff for information technology at the 4th ESC, was tasked with providing IT support for the event. Rather than just meeting the minimum requirements, he decided to set up training opportunities for the signal Soldiers in the postal units.
"Since we are going to be here, let's play hard," said Gonzalez. "These signal Soldiers never get enough chances to train, so it is valuable to get them an opportunity to do it like this."
The exercise could have easily focused only on postal operations tasks, leaving low density Soldiers without much to do, but Gonzalez knew it was a great opportunity to train the signal Soldiers on their tasks as well.
"We coordinated with the 84th Training Command so we could go real-world with our training," said Gonzalez. "They have the same enterprise services they would have while deployed."
Pvt. Julian Cuellar is a signal support systems specialist with the 328th HR Co, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. This is his first annual training experience as he just graduated from basic training and advanced individual training three months ago.
"It's been a very different way of learning," said Cuellar. "The pace here is faster and I'm learning so much more than at AIT."
During the exercise, he has been on the move, maintaining laptops, radios and phone services so his unit can quickly communicate real-world and exercise information. He appreciated the extra layer of training on top of postal operations.
"It's just as important," said Cuellar. "When we get called to duty, it will now be easier for us to handle the equipment we will actually be using because we have done it here."
Spc. Christina Dalley, another of the 328th HR Co's signal support systems specialists, used to do signal work in a National Guard military police unit. This was her first annual training with a postal unit and she said her eyes were opened to another military job.
"We got to sit in some of the postal classes and I found out that their duties are more complex than I thought," said Dalley. "I definitely have a better appreciation for what they do."
In addition to learning about postal operations, she had an opportunity to share her military expertise with her new battle buddies.
"I love my MOS," said Dalley. "Not only did this training help me, but we got to cross-train the 42As [human resources specialists] on our signal tasks."
Gonzalez and his team will be back to support the second iteration of Postal Warrior 19 in a few weeks, ensuring all the signal Soldiers in attendance will get an opportunity to enhance their skills and improve their readiness.
"The Soldiers are loving it," said Gonzalez. "These guys are really amazing and we are improving every day."
The 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) is made up of Soldiers, civilians and their families in units headquartered throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. As part of America's Army Reserve, these units are trained, combat-ready and equipped to provide military and logistical support in any corner of the globe.