Army, Air Force Partnership at Scania
May 13, 2009
CONVOY SUPPORT CENTER SCANIA, Iraq - Thirteen Airmen partner with Soldiers here every month to support convoy operations between Kuwait and Baghdad.
Attached to the 330th Transportation Battalion, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), the 37th Movement Control Team is a team of Airmen who assumed what was historically an Army mission.
"They've adapted and grasped onto the concept very quickly," said Air Force 1st Lt. Hannah N. Grewatz, commanding officer, 37th MCT. "Even though this is all out of their comfort zone, I think they've picked up things very quickly and they're doing a fabulous job."
Located alongside Main Supply Route Tampa, or Highway 1, south of Baghdad, Grewatz described the base as a huge truck stop for both northbound and southbound Coalition convoys. Several hundred vehicles stop here to rest and refuel every day, and the 37th MCT tracks each and every vehicle and its cargo.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Amanda S. Crowley, of Ellsinore, Miss., said tracking convoys is important to keep everyone informed and to get supplies where they are needed as safely and quickly as possible.
In addition to tracking the convoys, the 37th MCT also ensures convoys get refueled, secure parking spaces and billeting for Soldiers who stay overnight.
Aside from the combat skills training at Fort Dix, N.J. before being deployed here, the Airmen had little to prepare them for the mission. Most had some experience transporting household goods or palletized cargo by air; none were familiar with MCT and convoy operations, admitted Grewatz, a native of Arlington, Texas.
When Airman 1st Class Jennifer L. Beesley, of Sacramento, Calif., first heard about their mission to support an Army unit on a small, remote base, she said she was apprehensive. The experience from this deployment, though, has built her confidence.
"I think we're actually doing a pretty good job taking over for the Army," she said. "I'm out there doing the same thing they're doing."
Crowley said the opportunity to see how another branch of the military works is a unique opportunity for her Airmen. In the case of the 37th MCT's mission here: seeing how the Army manages convoys, what Soldiers do and how they live is an invaluable experience.
"And that's why I'm Air Force," she said with a laugh.