YORKTOWN, Va. (NNS) -- Approximately 550 Reservists of Forward Juliet, mobilized and trained by Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG), are undergoing extensive training aboard Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Yorktown-Cheatham Annex, May 22, in preparation for their upcoming deployment.
They will relieve Customs Battalion Forward India which deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in November 2008.
These mobilized Sailors will serve as the Department of Defense customs inspectors, at sea and aerial ports of debarkation in the Central Command Area of Responsibility.
"Our training and evaluation unit trains them and then certifies them on their ability to perform their mission successfully and safely," said Capt. Matthew C. Hellman, deputy commander, NAVELSG. "That involves combat skills and customs training."
The Reservists, from nearly 60 different Reserve centers across the country, reported for training in Williamsburg, Va., in late April for four weeks of intensive pre-deployment training at NWS Yorktown-Cheatham Annex. The combat exercise consisted of a simulated ambush using an improvised explosive device and sniper fire.
Larry Caldwell, a retired Marine and instructor with Unified Industries, had one word to say to his students after completing the exercise.
"Outstanding! "I love to work with the Reserves because if they didn't want to be here, they wouldn't be here," Caldwell said.
"They're very professional in everything that they do, and I'm proud to rub shoulders with them for the two days I had this group."
The Reservists have orders for one year with an anticipated eight-month "boots on ground" rotation. Navy personnel will work directly for the Army to provide this critical combat service support mission.
Yeoman 2nd Class Rosalyn Cotton from Chicago, previously deployed with the customs battalion in 2007.
"It doesn't matter how many times you've done it, you may have forgotten something, so it's always great to go through the process again just to make sure you're ready for the mission," Cotton said.
NAVELSG is a component of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), which is a global force provider of adaptive force packages of expeditionary capabilities to joint warfighting commanders. NECC serves as a single manning functional command to centrally manage the current and future readiness, resources, manning, training and equipping of the Navy Expeditionary Force.
NAVELSG is organized and staffed to deliver expeditionary logistics capabilities to theater commanders in support of the national military strategy. The command supports more than 4,000 naval Reservists located throughout the United States, encompassing more than 90 percent of the U.S. Navy's supply and transportation expeditionary units and has trained and deployed more than 7,000 Reservists in support of contingency operations.
For more news from Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwsyorktown/.