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Fla. Soldiers ensured successful deployments for out-of-state Guard teams

By Capt. Jesse Manzano | Florida National Guard | Oct. 30, 2018

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - As Guard members from several states arrived in Florida to assist with Hurricane Michael relief operations, Soldiers from the 50th Regional Support Group (RSG) were tasked with in-processing their counterparts into the state to ensure they could reach the area of operations as soon as possible.

To accomplish this, units from the 50th RSG activated Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration (JRSOI) sites. At a recent JRSOI location set up outside the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, close to 80 Soldiers and 34 vehicles from the Alabama National Guard's 2025th Transportation Company were in-processed into Florida by Soldiers from the Florida National Guard's 631st Support Maintenance Company out of Starke, 256th Area Support Medical Company out of Camp Blanding Joint Training Center and the Headquarters Company of the 50th RSG out of Homestead.

"By setting up the JRSOI and providing accountability for Soldiers coming into Florida, we ensure that they will be taken care of administratively by their local chain of command and their home state," said Staff Sgt. Nakia McCallum, the 50th Regional Support Group's Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Graceville JRSOI. "We need to make sure the out-of-state Soldiers and civilians know they will be taken care of while they help us take care of our impacted communities."

The role of the JRSOI during natural emergencies like Hurricane Michael is to provide a central location for all out-of-state Soldiers and civilians to be briefed on the situation in the impacted area, conduct personnel accountability, and ensure that they are properly equipped to perform their tasks. At the JRSOI, all equipment deploying into the area is also checked for serviceability and functionality, and cross checked with what was requested by the units in the field.

While the Guard members from the 2025th ate and rested at the Graceville JRSOI prior to continuing with their mission, their vehicles were led to one of four stations where each trailer, generator and vehicle was inspected for serviceability by a team of 631st mechanics and inspectors. After the inspections, they were then set to be refueled and staged to continue their convoy to Panama City to help the residents of Florida affected by Hurricane Michael.

As part of its mission, the 50th RSG also recently set up two additional JRSOI sites at Cecil Field outside Jacksonville and at the Tallahassee airport to assist with in-processing into the state the aviation assets and personnel requested to support the state's relief efforts after Hurricane Michael.

A veteran of three hurricane-related activations, McCallum has served as the NCOIC of all three JRSOI sites and is proud of the role the Guard plays in helping impacted communities, as well as grateful for the support the Guard is receiving.

"Everywhere we went, wherever we stopped, everyone was happy to see us and thanked us for being there," he said. "It makes our team's dedication and hard work well worth it."