So by now everyone has heard about units replacing other units on the news and in the paper, but what really happens? Here’s an OPSEC approved RIP/TOA brief.
RIP: relief in place. What it really means is the outgoing unit pulls out bits and pieces once ours are up and running and ready to step in.
TOA: Transfer of Authority. The outgoing commander controls the battlespace until this date when the new commander assumes responsibility.
So how does this influence the signal world, which I’m a part of?
Well, for starters, each brigade has its own organic servers and other equipment that allows us to communicate. So the incoming brigade has to put its equipment in the same place and get it stood up so the outgoing unit can leave. It should be a relatively simple process, but like everything in the army, no plan survives first contact. Equipment is broken, parts are missing, it’s a never ending process of holy crap this isn’t going to work. Eventually, everything falls into place one way or another but long days and competent operators helps tremendously.
We also have to transfer phone numbers and computers from their servers to ours and ensure that the outgoing commander still has the ability to command and control his battlespace.
It’s been a huge learning experience so far and digital RIP is still several days off.
The TOA is a physical transfer, much like a change of command. It symbolizes the outgoing commander’s transfer of responsibility for the soldiers on the ground to the incoming commander.
Speaking of commanders, my brigade commander, COL Gary Volesky and his CSM James Pippin have some interesting history if anyone is interested. COL Volesky was involved in the first big fight for Sadr City in 04 and CSM Pippin is legendary in his own right (instead of running from an ambush, he directed his driver to head for the shooter). You can read about them online or about the Sadr City battle in Martha Raddatz book The Long Road Home. It gives a great perspective on how this commander views his responsibilities as a leader of soldiers.
Anyway, that’s all for now!