“Train as you fight,” is a motto heard throughout formations in the Army. 

Leaders take every opportunity to prepare their Soldiers for the challenges they will or may face in support of the warfighter and in defense of this nation. As the climate and situations military forces face change, leaders must emphasize the importance of key tasks.

The Spartans from the 61st Quartermaster Battalion, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, conducted a Culminating Training Event from July 28 through Aug. 8.

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 418th Transportation Company, 53rd Quartermaster Company, 297th Transportation Company, 553rd Field Feeding Company, 96th Transportation Company and 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, all participated in order to validate the unit’s mission essential task list.

The sustainers and logisticians were validated on four critical METL tasks by subject matter experts from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th ESC. Their ability to conduct actions associated with area defense during offense, defense stability and defense support civil authorities operations were the high priority.

“It is vital for all missions to implement operations security, physical security procedures and antiterrorism measures into our planning process and operations,” explained 1st Lt. Dustin Schultz, 13th ESC force protection officer.

“With the Army’s focus now aimed towards being able to operate in an austere environment against a near-peer hybrid threat, we need to remain vigilant and proficient in both our individual and collective tasks when it comes to area defense,” he added.

With a rotation to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, and global missions on the horizon, providing the Soldiers real-world training was critical. Being out in a field environment brings a different element to training and allows leaders to pinpoint what they want the training goal to be.

“Our focus was on base defense while we tested our mission command systems and ability to provide continued support in a contested environment,” Lt. Col. Alphonso Simmons, 61st commander, said.

Training events always put an emphasis on the logistical support operations aspects encountered while deployed in support of the warfighter, but it was important to shift the focus with the changing times.

“We will not have the luxury of relying on others for our protection or defense and need to ensure all Soldiers in our formation are fit to fight and build lethality throughout every planning step and operation we do,” Schultz said.

Being able to accomplish and excel at these tasks is a primary focus of Simmons’ battalion, as the Army transitions from years of providing support in Afghanistan and Iraq to being prepared to operate in a more austere wartime environment.

“Our goal is to develop the lethality of our Soldiers by executing tasks associated with survivability,” Simmons said. “But we must also maintain the ability to proficiently execute our mission command and sustainment support tasks.”

With the main evaluation portion being force protection related, Schultz commended the Spartans for excelling at this ever-increasingly important task.

“They prepared an effective defensive posture during their CTE and always continued to improve upon their fighting positions, making it ever more difficult for the enemy forces to find weaknesses in their perimeter,” Schultz said.

With each passing training event, the 61st continues to improve their already extensive skill sets. Continuing to train, maintain and improve helps shed light on why the Spartans remain one of the most active quartermaster units in the Army.

“This was an outstanding exercise where we were able to see how we continue to develop, as a unit, after the assessment,” Simmons said. “We can’t improve what we don’t know. As long as we continue to train and improve, we will be an even better organization.”