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77th Regional Readiness Command
77th Regional Support Command

The 77th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) was reorganized into the 77th Regional Support Command on October 1, 1995. The term "regional support" represented the command's mission in peacetime to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in case of natural or manmade disasters. It was headquartered in Bayside, Queens, New York at historic Fort Totten, where the Reserve Command has been since 1968. The Department of Defense, in its 2005 BRAC recommendations, recommended the disestablishment of the unit (see below).

In late 2003 all Regional Support Commands were re-designated to Regional Readiness Commands.

During the postwar period, from 1947 to 1965, the 77th Infantry Division was one of the six combat divisions in the Army Reserve. The 77th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) was formed in December 1967 as a part of the reorganization of the command structure of the Army Reserve. Shortly after its activation in 1967, the 77th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) inherited the lineage of the 77th Infantry Division. The fame of the 77th, the "Statue of Liberty" Division, began during World War I and continued in the Pacific during World War II.

Six units of the 77th ARCOM were called to active duty as a result of the Pueblo Crisis in 1968. Five of these served in Vietnam and many unit members received decorations and awards for outstanding service.

Liberty Patchers were center stage during America's Statue of Liberty Centennial Celebration on July 4, 1986. The 77th ARCOM's band entertained at Lincoln Center, Gracie Mansion and on Liberty Island. The ARCOM's artillery fired a thunderous salute to the 50 states during the International Naval Review.

The 77th ARCOM faced another challenge in August 1990 when the Iraqi Army invaded Kuwait. Some 3,500 soldiers from 28 ARCOM units -- about one-quarter of the ARCOM's strength -- were mobilized. Citizen-soldiers supplemented their active component counterparts not only in the Persian Gulf, but also in Germany and in the United States.

During Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Liberty Patchers controlled the loading of thousands of tons of shipboard cargo. The 77th's engineering units constructed buildings, roads, and water pipelines in support of the allied effort. They ran enemy prisoner of war camps; air evacuated patients and provided expert medical care.

Units of the 301st Area Support Group, 77th RSC were essential command and control elements providing transportation and equipment to all areas of the battlefield. and direct logistics support to combat units and combat service support operations.

In December 1995, the 77th received orders to support Operation Joint Endeavor, the United Nations peace keeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Since then, members of the command have provided vital Combat Service support, Military Police, Medical and Public Affairs resources while serving 270-day tours in the region.

When they responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001, the 77th Regional Support Command established the first emergency operations center under the U.S. Army Regional Support Command (USARC) structure.The regional support concept was established in 1995 under the former chief of the Army Reserve, MG Max Baratz and was put to the test in the wake of this disaster. The 77th passed the test with flying colors -- within 45 minutes of the attack, the 77th's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was ready to respond to requests for assistance from civil and military organizations.

At 10:18 a.m., the 77th EOC, under the leadership of COL Matthew Cacciatore, deputy chief of staff, Operations, e-mailed the full-time staff that "All non-essential personnel at Reserve centers in metropolitan New York and New Jersey are to be released ASAP and ordered to go home. Major subordinate commands and direct reporting units will continue to staff their EOC with only mission-essential personnel." This initial message was the first transmitted indication of the seriousness of the horror taking shape in New York City and its effect on theArmy Reserve community for the next 15 days.

Operation Liberty Crisis was born. The 77th RSC was directed by USARC in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to prepare, provide and assi gn units to those agencies requiring mission support for the disaster. The 77th RSC was to continue support for an extended period of time, execute any follow-on missions assi gned by the (USARC) in Atlanta, GA, and provide command of units with in the region for disaster relief.

The damage to New York City's Emergency Operations Center during the attacks required flexibility in all aspects of the recovery operations during the next week. FEMA, and the Reserve component EPLO, ultimately established themselves within a cruise ship terminal on the Hudson River. EPLOs also went on duty in Albany, N.Y and Edison, N.J. COL Gerard A. McEnerney led the Reserve EPLO team during the entire operation.

In those initial hours following the attacks, hundreds of Reserve soldiers , current and retired, called their commands or showed up on the doorstep to volunteer and do whatever was needed to support their city and communities.Soldiers,released from duty, voluntarily moved to "ground zero" to help in rescue and recovery efforts. Requests for help came from the Fire Department, the Police Department, the New York City Medical Examiner's office, the FBI, Air National Guard,and others.

In the first hours and days, the 77th provided protective masks, generators, tents, cots, office equipment and hundreds of other items to support the operation. The 411th Engineer Brigade moved equipment. The 800th Military Police Brigade provided immediate force protection and the 140th Quartermaster Company, part of the 301st Area Support Group, constructed a temporary morgue at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx. Other logistical support included storing donated items for the police and fire department and the allocation of 77th real estate in New Jersey to support the FBI, the NJ State Police,and others. Medical personnel from the 8th Medical Brigade, most in their civilian roles, had already moved to lower Manhattan to provide aid to the wounded.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to disestablish the HQ 77th Regional Readiness Command and instead would establish a Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Dix. This recommendation would consolidate four major headquarters onto Fort Dix and would support the Army Reserve’s nationwide Command and Control restructuring initiative to reduce Regional Readiness Commands from ten to four. The disestablishment of the HQ 77th RRC would enable the establishment of a Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Dix that would result in in a new operational capability for the Army Reserve.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:31:52 ZULU