PSD Soldiers take on final Kuwait training
September 30, 2009
CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT - A small roadside explosion halted the four-vehicle convoy of up-armored Humvees as they made their way through a small village.
Thick clouds of white and green smoke enveloped the Soldiers pouring out of the trucks onto the sandy desert road.
They took refuge on one side of their vehicles as they rained fire on their enemies, giving cover to a team of Soldiers storming a nearby house.
This was not a real roadside bomb attack, nor were the Soldiers hardened infantrymen.
These were 15th Sustainment Brigade Soldiers - firefighters, cooks, mechanics, and a plethora of other occupational specialties - mashed together to form the unit's personal security detachment.
The "Wagonmasters'" PSD culminated a four-day training exercise with live-fire scenarios here Sept. 18 that tested their ability to deal with various situations, both in their vehicles and on the ground.
"We accomplish our mission so boss-man can get where he's going," Staff Sgt. Stuart Gimble, a Washington, native, and PSD platoon sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade said.
The PSD's mission is to safely protect key leaders, such as the brigade's commander, whom they refer to as the "principal."
The platoon's training in Kuwait was overseen by civilian contractors, many of whom were retired Army Special Forces.
"They're really hard on us," Gimble said, though he admitted that it was a good thing.
The first day of training centered on classroom training and dry rehearsals. The second day involved live-fire exercises without vehicles and the third live-fire exercises with vehicles.
Although the fourth day wasn't originally planned for, the leadership wanted to continue to train while they still had the opportunity to use Buehring's resources.
Scenarios included getting the principal back into a vehicle safely after coming under fire while on foot, moving the principal from a damaged vehicle into a working one, and clearing and using an available building as a safe house.
Clothed target dummies lined the streets of the mock village and Soldiers had to make split second decisions as to who was friend and foe. Explosive effects and smoke grenades along with moving targets were all used to make the training as realistic as possible.
One of the instructors later said that the team's actions were "textbook."
"They should be proud of how far they've come," Lt. Col. Paula Lodi, 15th STB commander said.
She also said that what set this group of Soldiers apart from others was that they all wanted to be there even though they all came from different occupational specialties.
Gimble agreed that the Soldiers had developed well into a team.
"This is probably the best group of Soldiers I've ever worked with," Gimble said proudly.