Saturday, September 30, 2006

3rd Army, FORSCOM, USARC, and Breakfast

Well, when I said this post has everything a typical Army post has, I was mistaken. There are no dining facilities (mess halls). So after a good night’s sleep, PT, and a shower, my quest this morning has been for a place to have breakfast. I ended up behind the PX at the outdoor tables for Burger King (closed on weekends) eating Archway Date Oatmeal cookies, the most “breakfasty” thing I could find in the PX.

3rd Army, FORSCOM, and USARC are headquartered here at Ft. McPherson. USARC is the U.S. Army Reserve Command. FORSCOM is Forces Command, one of the Major Commands (you guessed it – MACOMs) in the Army. The other major one in the Continental US that I know of is TRADOC – Training and Doctrine Command. As far as I know, all the major Army bases in CONUS are either FORSCOM or TRADOC posts. TRADOC runs all the Army schools - basic training, advanced individual training, officer training, etc, as well as being responsible for all the field manuals and doctrinal publications. My whole first year in the Army was spent in TRADOC organizations as I got trained up. I had always heard people talk about how different things were in FORSCOM, but I never served in a FORSCOM unit because I got sent straight to Germany and served in USAREUR (I think maybe I’ll stop explaining the obvious acronyms…..)

So it was kind of cool to walk by these large buildings last night and see “Forces Command” on one of them. The people in there command all the combat, combat support, and combat service support units stationed in CONUS. Likewise with 3rd Army, which is kind of the “go-to” HQ for CENTCOM, the MACOM covering the Middle East, and USARC, which is responsible for the entire U.S. Army Reserve.

I took some photos, including one of a Soviet-made T-72 tank captured from the Iraqi Republican Guard in Gulf War I.

Ft. McPherson - Soviet T-72
Originally uploaded by

Ft. McPherson - Soviet T-72 Plaque
Originally uploaded by

I also saw an M1 Abrams and an M-48 Patton tank in front of Patton Hall (3rd Army HQ).

Ft. McPherson - 3rd Army HQ
Originally uploaded by

Ft. McPherson - M1
Originally uploaded by

Kind of interesting juxtaposition – the M48 was the main battle tank for quite awhile after WWII, and was named after Patton, who commanded 3rd Army. One of his subordinates was LTC Creighton W. Abrams. Abrams was a hell-bent-for-leather tank commander whose Combat Command B cut a huge swath across Europe after the breakout from Normandy, including breaking through to relieve the 101st at Bastogne. So it’s cool that the tank named after him was the Army’s major ground weapons system in the largest armor-on-armor battle since WWII.

After an Army career spent almost exclusively with troops in the field at battalion level and below, I have suddenly found myself catapulted into the stratosphere. My first TPU assignment was to Eighth Army HQ, and my first exercise with them was in Korea in the Eighth Army Operations Center. Now that I’m mobilized I’m assigned to 3rd Army, and next door to FORSCOM. These three HQ units combined probably have enough stars in them to put on a show in a planetarium. Not that this elevates my own status in any meaningful way. Majors don’t really show up on the radar screen in this kind of an environment – we are basically interchangeable low-level staff officers. Nonetheless it’s kind of cool to be near the HQ locations of these high-level commands. I hope the work end up I doing here is as interesting as the work was in Korea. I’d hate to end up counting mess kits or running the officer’s club or something…

Which brings me back to Ft. McPherson and breakfast. Not only are there no dining facilities, there’s no officers’ club, and the one food service place I know of (Burger King / Anthony’s Pizza) is closed on weekends. There are also no cafés and no wi-fi hotspots. This is essentially a commuter post. People don’t live on post, so it’s set up to serve the commuter and retiree population. They come and go during the week, and on the weekend the place shuts down. So naturally I’m here over the weekend.

Thank goodness for MARTA and free wi-fi. I plan to head downtown again and find a place to upload this blog entry. Then I guess I’ll hang out ,read a book , and maybe do some people watching.

Music: BAP – Zwesche Salzgebaeck und Bier (“Alexandra, nit nur do”)
Mood: Impatient


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