Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Womble, Navy Reserve, Navy Installations Command
Nearly one-hundred members of Navy Reserve units throughout Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) augmented their active duty commands during Exercise Solid Curtain – Citadel Shield 2018, an anti-terrorism/force protection exercise conducted across Navy installations within the continental U.S.
Whether their support was at an Operations Center or as a member of the Navy Security Forces (NSF), each member of the Reserve Shore Enterprise team played a vital role to the success of the exercise.
Rear Adm. Matt O’Keefe, Reserve Deputy Commander, Navy Installations Command, was the senior Reservist supporting CNIC for Solid Curtain and led the headquarters’ effort in supporting U.S. Fleet Forces Command during the numerous simulated events. He highlighted the critical support the Reserve force, in particular the Navy Reserve Security Forces and the Operation Center units, brought to the exercise.
“We once again showed from the headquarters perspective that when these types of events occur - whether its exercise or real world – our active duty commands rely heavily on the Reserve Component to bring the right number of people with the right skill sets to support the mission,” said O’Keefe.
When the Navy shifts from Force Protection Condition (FPCON) Bravo to Charlie or Delta, the Navy relies on the auxiliary security forces and the reserve security forces to sustain around the clock operations.
This is where Lt.j.g. Mark Smith, Commanding Officer Navy Reserve, Navy Security Force Everett, sees the greatest value added by the reserve NSF team.
“We maintain both our weapons qualifications and our annual sustainment training so that when they have a need we can answer that need immediately and get right to work instead of having to get into a classroom or into a range to get our qualifications up to date,” Smith said.
This value was personally acknowledged by O’Keefe. “Every region in the continental United States went to FPCON Charlie as part of Solid Curtain and we know without question that they can't sustain that without the Navy Reserve,” he said. “Once again our Navy Reserve NSF stepped up. They reported on station, trained up, and ready to go without any delay which is critical.”
At the Operations Centers, Reservists filled vital watch standing roles, allowing their active duty counterparts to balance the duties of the exercise watch with their real-world duties.
“The sailors we brought in to support the Crisis Action Team in the Shore Enterprise Operations Center were a group of professionals,” said O’Keefe. “They were well trained, they were ready and from the moment they arrived, they were engaged, they were in charge and they did a fantastic job.”
At Naval District Washington, Exercise Director Matt Brown singled out Navy Reserve Operations Specialist 2nd Class David Rau for his value added to the exercise.
“OS2 Rau really stepped up and did a great job for our team” said Brown. "He was critical to our success and he is the type of sailor we want on our team."
At Navy Region Southeast (NRSE), Lt. Jeff Gurley, Operations Officer NR NRSE noticed how much the active duty team valued their efforts.
“Our active duty counterparts really expect us to walk in and fill the [watch stander] seat. By doing this we were able to allow our active duty counterparts the flexibility to support Solid Curtain, Citadel Shield and the real world watch.”
Within the Navy Installations Command there are 3,500 reservists providing support daily in various capacities. Reserve Sailors add an additional layer of preparedness to the shore enterprise by bringing their civilian experience and expertise to their active duty supported commands.
The Navy Reserve provides essential naval warfighting capabilities and expertise, strategically aligned with mission requirements - valued for our readiness, innovation, and agility.