While the 109th Quartermaster Company was performing missions last week, their higher headquarters, the 49th QM Group exercised its tactical command and control functions as it might in a real-world situation.

The 49th’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company and command element deployed to Fort Pickett in an effort to better its ability to deploy, set up a field site and, more importantly, successfully engage the military decision-making process.

Col. James Meyer, the 49th commander, said the deployment was much needed because the headquarters element doesn’t get to practice MDMP enough.

“One of the challenges is the fact that a lot of folks haven’t done this before,” he said.

“This is kind of widespread across the combat service support community. We don’t use MDMP as much as our counterparts in the combat arms and combat support branches.”

During the exercise, the 49th worked its way through a scenario that closely mirrors what it would encounter during the course of a real deployment. It set up command and staff cells to direct missions at a forward operating base and other locations. It also set up supporting facilities to include dining tents and showers.

Sgt. Maj. John Hawkins, S-3 sergeant major, said not only did the deployment exercise the commander’s staff, but gave the enlisted Soldiers the opportunity to further their field and leadership skills. He said their enthusiasm and motivation in taking on the mission was outstanding.

“Not only did those young Soldiers come out here and do what was expected of them,” said Hawkins, “but they wanted to do it, wanted to see it done right and wanted the whole operation to be a success. It reflects on them, and there’s nothing that makes a Soldier more proud than having made a contribution to mission success.”

Staff Sgt. Doretha Sakil, assigned to HHC, said a basic field exercise like the one conducted last week gives Soldiers a sample of the real thing.

“It gives Soldiers the opportunity to learn the things that we experience in the real world because everything doesn’t run smoothly,” the 34-year-old said. “There are many ups and downs in a field environment like vehicles breaking down and equipment not running to full capability. This gave them the opportunity to adapt to those situations.”

Hawkins said that adapting is an acquired skill built only through experience.

“The key is building experience and building expertise,” he said. “That’s part of leader development and that’s part of Soldier development – bringing people online, so that they can ultimately take over those leadership roles. I think we did a good job of helping to develop Soldiers during this exercise.”

The 49th ended their field training exercise Friday.