Story and photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault
4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
When Capt. Peter M. Matthews, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, arrived, there were six Soldiers in the brigade and no system was in place for in-processing inbound personnel.
This issue for Matthews and other incoming Soldiers prompted brigade leaders to set up a Reception Company in April 2012, which has now received and in-processed more than 1,100 Soldiers into the unit.
“It is not usual for a brigade to have its own reception company, but for a new unit standing up it is a necessity,” said Matthews. “We identified this problem and put together a group of Soldiers into a functional reception company to produce fully in-processed Soldiers.”
Most Soldiers get fully in-processed when they arrive to a post, but because the CAB is standing up, more in-processing at the brigade level is needed due to lack of personnel in certain key leader roles, Matthews said.
At 4th CAB’s reception, some Soldiers are still dealing with personal issues such as moving, financial problems and child care. The reception staff makes sure Soldiers are accommodated and problems are resolved as much as possible before they report for duty.
The Reception Company, 4th CAB, Soldiers also work to maintain a functional sponsorship program to welcome incoming Soldiers and address issues about six months before they arrive.
“Sponsorship is important,” said Staff Sgt. Tracie Higdon, sponsorship noncommissioned officer in charge, Reception Company, 4th CAB, 4th Inf. Div. “We let incoming Soldiers know what to expect when they arrive, address issues before they arrive and orient them to the surrounding areas.”
The Reception Company also gives jobs to Soldiers within the unit who do not currently have equipment or ability to do their military jobs.
“It’s a great thing that we are being allowed to do this job,” said 1st Sgt. L.T. Whittley, senior enlisted leader, Reception Company, 4th CAB. “The Reception Company puts together Soldiers from different military occupational specialties and allows them to learn other jobs.”
The 4th CAB Reception Company will remain active until all 2,700 Soldiers arrive, units are activated and subordinate units are capable of in-processing their own Soldiers. Whittley said he thinks the Reception Company will dissolve into the CAB a couple of months after all expected Soldiers have arrived.