Soldiers do weapons qualifications in a rehearsal replicating the deployment and redeployment process, to prep for the first group of soldiers to arrive. (Staff Sgt. Patricia Deal / Army)
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Individual soldiers and Army civilians preparing to go downrange will now go to Fort Bliss, Texas, for pre-deployment processing. The Army is consolidating its Continental United States Replacement Center operation, moving it from Fort Benning, Ga., to the western Texas post.
The CRC is where individual deployers typically spend a week drawing their equipment and undergoing required briefings and processing before deploying. These soldiers, who deploy without a unit or as individual augmentees, also will undergo redeployment processing at Fort Bliss after their tours.
On Sept. 26, those who would have deployed through the Army Corps of Engineers Deployment Center in Winchester, Va., also will process for deployment from Fort Bliss, according to information from Forces Command.
At Fort Bliss, soldiers from the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, First Army Division West, will run the CRC.
The brigade’s primary mission is to conduct post-mobilization training for Army Reserve units, convoy and entry control point live-fire training, and detainee operations for soldiers, airmen and sailors, according to the unit website.
“All of us at the 402nd are proud the Army recognized our capability and selected us to oversee all CRC operations,” Col. Carolyn Birchfield, who commands the 402nd, said in an Army news story. “It nests very well with [our] mission.”
To prepare for their new responsibility, soldiers from the brigade conducted a seven-day dress rehearsal in July.
“The rehearsal validated the training schedule for the individual deployers [and] redeployers,” Birchfield said. “It was important for us and our enterprise partners to identify any gaps in our systems and processes before we have the first individual deployers arrive at Fort Bliss.”