34 Combat Aviation Bn, National Guard Soldiers train at Fort Sill Oklahoma

New Soldier Readiness Process Center Wins Praise

Fort Sill, Okla – As one of First Army’s Mobilization Training Centers located here, the new Fort Sill Soldier Readiness Process (SRP) center stands ready to support and win favor with mobilizing and deploying soldiers. Their preparation to proceed into theater in support of the Global War on Terror begins here at the SRP center for Guardsmen and Reservists.

To date, the SRP has serviced individual, detachment, company and battalion level organizations ranging up to 600 service-members. Now on the ground, the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade from the Minnesota Army National Guard will be the largest unit to test the new SRP’s process and efficiency. Nearly 1800 soldiers are expected to arrive and walk through their doors and the SRP staff stands ready.

Luke Barnett, Chief, Administrative Support Branch, Military Personnel Division, Fort Sill Garrison said “The SRP center has been set up to process about 50 Soldiers per hour with a thru-put goal of 400 Soldiers per day.” High expectations and standards are the order of the day, but with limited collective training time at the MTC, less time conducting SRP means more time training in the air or in the field for the 34th CAB aviators.

Minnesota Army National Guard 34th Combat Aviation Brigade conduct Combat Lifesaver Training at Contingency Operating Base, Mow Way
Soldiers of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 34th Combat Aviation Brigade conduct Combat Lifesaver Training at Contingency Operating Base, MowWay June 19. Trained to be first-responders during their upcoming deployment to Iraq, each Soldier learned crucial medical skills that will ultimately save lives on the battlefield. The combat lifesaver training received here went a step further in that it was conducted under a stressful, real-world situation. (Photo by Master Sgt. Gilbert G.Benavides, 479th Field Artillery Brigade Public Affairs Office)

2/2/2/2 34th CAB SRP Center

Up until the recent opening of the new SRP the process was decentralized and spread around post, service members tolerated the dreaded bus trips – go here for dental, there for ID cards, etc. Much has evolved since; with its new location at the Soldier and Family Service Center, the SRP center is on the path to success. “This SRP center consists of seven stations: Dental, Medical, Finance, Army Community Services, Chaplin, Personnel and ID Card section,” said Barnett. Barnett went on to say that the dental section, which was the last station to be added to the center, will be first used by the 34th CAB.

All this under one roof is sure to help with decreased transportation costs, and more importantly, increased Soldier morale. Unless medical or dental treatment is required, Soldiers don’t need to travel around post to different buildings in order to take care of their in-processing needs.

Soldiers practice hands on combative techniques
Fort Sill Okla. Soldiers from 34th Combat Aviation Brigade conduct combative training here on Jun 14 at Contingency Operating Base Mow-way. After several rehearsals Soldiers practice hands on combative techniques on each other inside a rubber pit. (Photo by Master Sgt. Gilbert G. Benavides, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Public Affairs Office)

With its configuration, sort of a “round robin” format, every station is right around the corner or a few steps down the hall. The staff have really gotten into the customer service spirit, creating make-shift signage around doorways and hallways to ensure that 34th CAB Soldiers are directed to the correct station.

The SRP ensures that each mobilized soldiers’ personal and health records are updated and deployment packets are correct before they deploy into theater. Soldiers update such documents as the Record of Emergency Data and Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance. They also receive any required vaccinations or prescriptions needed for the area of responsibility to which they will be assigned in theater.

3/3/3/3 34th CAB SRP Center

All Soldiers must go through each section before they are cleared as completed with the SRP.

1st Lt. Nick Lacroix from Prior Lake, Minnesota was going through his fourth station at 1030 in a process that for him began at 0900. “The whole process has been incredibly smooth and with minimum delay; this is an excellent process,” said Lacroix.

This stream-lined process has really put Soldiers first. The new consolidated activity should make services smoother for any follow-on brigade level organization mobilized and assigned to the Fort Sill MTC for its post-mobilization training.

34th Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers wait to be seen by medical providers at the new consolidated Soldier Readiness Process center
Fort Sill, Okla. 34th Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers wait to be seen by medical providers at the new consolidated Soldier Readiness Process center located on the ground level of Soldier and Family Service Center. The 34th CAB is the largest unit to be assigned to the Mobilization Training Center here. Nearly 1800 Soldiers of the 34th CAB will be processed by the SRP center. (Photo by Army Maj. Jose A. Lopez, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Public Affairs Office)

Spc. Alan Anderson, a prior enlisted active duty Marine from Pine Island Minnesota, who is going through his first deployment with a National Guard unit said, “The SRP was organized and smooth; everything is in one area.” You can’t get anything by Soldiers, always aware of his surroundings Anderson added, ” I can see that the SPR has been set up to get Soldiers in and out as quickly as possible.”

‘Quickly as possible,’ may be a key phrase at other SRP sites, but here, “Moving Soldiers as quickly as possible with quality service is the key,” said Barnett.

Cutting the processing time by half of what it may have used to take is not something that the SRP administration may have anticipated. But it is sure working in their favor; the biggest winners though, in this case, are the Soldiers of the 34th CAB.

Capt. Jeff Bibeau, from Maplewood, Minnesota said “Overall, it went pretty quick, staff constantly kept Soldiers moving, directing them where to go.” So efficient is the process, Bibeau went on to say that processing for him took about three and a half hours.

4/4/4/4 34th CAB SRP Center

Although for him, the medical station took longer that the other stations, Bibeau adds, “That was still more efficient than before.” Previously deployed in 2003, and recalling the recent past, Bibeau remembers that SRPing then, took about six to seven hours.

Bibeau concluded that the staff has been great to work with and has been very accommodating and pleasant. “It made three hours go by fast,” he said.

The 479th Field Artillery Brigade and the 166th Aviation Brigade, First Army Division West, are the primary trainers for collective ground and air training, respectively, for the 34th CAB.

Thanks to the new consolidated Fort Sill SRP center – the 479th FA Bde and the 166th AVN Bde can chalk-up three more hours of training time for the soldiers of the 34th