Speicher Soldiers learn to mulititask
August 21, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION SPEICHER, Iraq - Transportation Soldiers at Contingency Operating Location Speicher, Iraq, are performing a mission very different from the one they originally expected.
The 70th Transportation Company, a Mannheim, Germany-based company assigned to the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, was deployed to conduct general cargo and bulk fuel transportation, but were reassigned a month into their deployment to do area and heavy equipment recovery missions.
The 70th performs the mission with multiple functions and requirements. Half the company is responsible for recovering disabled vehicles out of Speicher, while a small detachment performs heavy equipment transporter recovery missions at COL Marez-East.
The unit, deployed since July of 2008, had to adapt to changes including security agreements, base closures and share the road policies.
Experienced personnel enabled the company to successfully adapt to its new mission and structural outfitting.
Staff Sgt. Jack V. Hervey, HET recovery non-commissioned officer in charge, a Water Valley, Miss., native, said before arriving at Marez, his experience on the HET system was very limited.
"Before you knew it I was changing (trailer tires), doing roll-outs on the trailer - in order to make sure the bogies were all in a straight line - and winching and un-winching disabled vehicles," said Hervey.
Master drivers and truck masters in the unit were challenged to run a drivers' training program to train and license recovery escort personnel to standard on the various tactical vehicles within the section.
Heavy-wheeled operators in recovery escort undergo this training for HET systems, wreckers, armored security vehicles, mine resistant ambush protected vehicles and humvees.
These Soldiers can then successfully perform non-standard missions outside the scope of their normally assigned duties and responsibilities, said Hervey. He said this emboldens the unit with a sense of pride and confidence.
"In today's Army, the ability to train on, and proficiently execute, unfamiliar tasks has become second nature," Hervey said. "However, few units accomplish this exceptionally well. Those that do achieve superior morale."
The HET system requires 80 hours of training and drive time for licensing, and is often used for vehicle recovery.
The 70th also had to adapt to the changing policies that govern practices and standards of operation, due to many socio-political and strategic military factors.
Iraqi police and security forces were strengthened and transitioned into manning checkpoints. These actions were immediately noted in recovery escort operations.
"From what I could see, they were up on their tactics, techniques and procedures and maintained visual gun truck security until the vehicle being recovered was secured," said Spc. Richard Crow, a heavy-wheeled vehicle operator from Conway, Ark.
Other significant changes occurred during the transportation company's deployment. One that affected operations was the share the road policy, which allowed Iraqis to travel through and pass military convoys on the road.
Another change was the June 30, 2009, deadline for withdrawal of Coalition forces from major cities in Iraq.
The experiences of the Soldiers of the 70th Transportation Co. this deployment were by no means unique during Operation Iraqi Freedom 08-10. Units throughout Iraq have adapted to similar challenges during this transitional time.
Soldiers from the 70th said they have narrowed down the keys to success, which can be achieved by any disciplined force: adaptability, flexibility in developing progressive techniques and the ability to swiftly execute missions in a rapidly evolving environment.