U.S. Army South HHBN prepares for hurricane season during validation exercise

Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion (HHBN), U.S. Army South conducted a validation exercise to notionally deploy a contingency command post, or CCP, Aug. 10-14 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas to establish standard operating procedures in preparation for hurricane season.

Image credit: Sgt. Ashley Dotson

“The purpose of the exercise is to replicate alert, marshal and deploy conditions within a garrison environment in order to assess our ability to effectively deploy both equipment and personnel to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility,” said Lt. Col. Mark A. Katz, HHBN U.S. Army South commander. “This is important because our ability to force tailor, forward project, and provide rapid response will minimize human suffering, but more importantly, will save lives.”

U.S. Army South, as the U.S. Southern Command Joint Forces Land Component Command, conducts security cooperation operations and activities with partner nation armies in Central and South America to strengthen regional security and counter threats in support of a networked defense of the homeland including humanitarian missions. “We can bring an enormous level of capability to bear at the speed of relevance to reduce human suffering,” said Katz.

The CCP is a rapidly deployable team consisting of about 70 personnel from the U.S. Army South headquarters capable of providing Joint Task Force leadership that conducts planning for small-scale contingency and humanitarian operations.

“Overall this week, we were able to go after the spirit of the intent of the exercise, and I believe we have met the objectives of the mission,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Damon C. Smith, HHBN, U.S. Army South command sergeant major as he discussed the completion of the validation exercise. “There will be some things that we need to improve on, and for the next exercise we will incorporate more readiness while continuing to follow the COVID-19 precautions.”

The HHBN command team said they also plan to simulate a deployment of the CCP personnel to Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis along with a field exercise in the fall of this year.

“While we have a shared responsibility with our partners, the United States has always led the world in humanitarian assistance; and we will continue to do our part here at U.S. Army South to enable that outcome,” added Katz.

Source: US Army