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First Team Army Civilian Ensures Readiness for Deploying Soldiers

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MARCOA Media
Story by Wendy Arevalo on 08/05/2019
FORT KNOX, Ky. For Jake Stover, 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) assistant deployment specialist, going above and beyond is just the right thing to do.

Recently, he traveled with a group of deploying 1st TSC Soldiers to the airport at 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday to ensure that they got on their plane successfully.

"I don't have to be there -- I just do it to ensure everything goes smoothly," Stover said. "I do it because it's the right thing to do. If something were to go wrong, I would be the one who should deal with it, because I'm their contact on the ground."

Stover is just one of the 47 civilians that work for 1st TSC. He is the point of contact for all deploying Soldiers and civilians attached to 1st TSC, which includes more than 560 personnel.

As a deployment specialist, he fills a key role at 1st TSC. The command has been continuously deploying to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility since 2006.

Before Soldiers and civilians deploy, Stover ensures they have the required documents, training, are medically and administratively cleared, and have the proper equipment, as well as required signatures from validating authorities.

A typical work day might include everything from following up on the status of a Soldier's passport or visa, to responding to emails or questions from Soldiers downrange to coordinating the transportation to and from the airport for his next group of Soldiers.

Some days are spent at the Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) building assisting Soldiers with administrative and medical paperwork needed to deploy.

"He's definitely the hub when it comes to getting Soldiers in and out of theater," said Sgt. 1st Class Lynetta Walker, S-1 noncommissioned officer in charge, Special Troops Battalion (STB), 1st TSC. "We can't do what we do without him."

In the last 60 days, Stover facilitated the deployment of more than 100 1st TSC Soldiers, including those attached to the 18th Financial Management Support Center (FMSC) the 14th Human Resources Sustainment Center (HRSC) and the Strategic Operations and Plans (SOaP) White Team.

Stover's success lies in the planning. After one group deploys, the next day he's already beginning planning for the next. He said he tries to start planning for deployments 180 days out.

"When the SOaP team departed on June 4, on June 5, I already started building the in-progress readiness reviews, the training schedules and writing the Op Order (operational order) for the SOaP Blue Team, which departs in late November, early December, so we're always working forward," Stover said.

Stover, who served 21 years in the Army, credits his military experience with giving him the experience he needed to be successful in his civilian position.

"I was a unit movement officer myself," said the Fremont, Ohio native. "I learned a lot about deployments when deployments were first starting to Iraq [2003-2004]. We didn't have the deployment structure that we have now. We didn't have the big SRP sites and unit movement coordinators so we did all that on our own."

He added that having experience developing long-range training is essential as well when planning for deployments.

"If you identify and develop the process 180 days out, and you're following that process, and you're meeting the milestones and suspense dates that are built in that 180-day window, when it comes to deployment day, you're not going to fail, because you're monitoring and managing all those requirements along the way," Stover said.

Maj. Michael Williams, STB executive officer, 1st TSC, has been Stover's supervisor since August 2018.

Williams said Stover fulfills a key role at 1st TSC.

"Mr. Stover is pretty much the single point of contact when it comes to deployment training, pre-deployment trainingeverything from their medical readiness to their administrative readinesshe covers it all," said Williams. "He is really our liaison to Fort Knox to make sure when we have teams that rotate in and out they are fully provided with all the support that they need as well as supporting the installation when they have a few things they need from us."

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