FORT IRWIN, Calif. --The driver was set, the gunner was in place and the assistant driver was ready.

As the driver put his Humvee on line, three others did the same behind him, the only the thing remaining was for the Humvee commander, Sgt. John Redmond, to call in their status and move the convoy out of the gate of Forward Operating Base Miami located at the National Training Center.

"This is Thunder 6-3, our green two report is green," said Redmond, a State College, Penn., native. "This lets them [the control center] know we have all our weapons and necessary gear -- such as night vision goggles -- to roll out. If it was amber, that means someone is missing something, and we'll have to wait until that person gets it."

Redmond, a cavalry scout serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, leads a group of 18 Soldiers on the personal security detachment protecting Lt. Col. Scott Gerber, 3rd "Thunder" Squadron, 3rd ACR commander.

This day would take them to four different training locations throughout the high Mojave Desert. Thunder Squadron, and the rest of the 3rd ACR, is in the midst of a four-week training rotation at NTC aimed at preparing them for their upcoming deployment to Iraq later this summer.

Their training as the PSD at NTC consists of escorting Gerber wherever he goes.

"I hope we take some contact today," said Spc. Mathew Jarvis from the back of the Humvee.

Potosi, Mo., native Jarvis, an armor crewmember with HHT has been on the PSD for about three months. Jarvis said the team has not been "attacked" since arriving in the area this month.

"Being on PSD is a lot of long nights," said Jarvis. "I like it though; we have a good mixture of people and different MOSs (military occupational specialty)."

Jarvis said he was standing in formation one day when he was told to report to PSD on the following Monday.

"They said we got selected because we're high speed," he said.

Pfc. Merrill Dooley said he was handpicked to transfer from Howitzer Battery, 3rd ACR to come to the PSD.

"I guess I impressed someone," he said.

Dooley, from Yellville, Ark., has spent the last three months in the PSD.

"What's next on the agenda, sergeant'" asked vehicle driver Pfc. Raymond Whitman, a cavalry scout and Junction City, Kan., native.

"Dallas," replied Sgt. Nicholas Bullard, a cavalry scout with HHT.

Bullard was referring to FOB Dallas. They were scheduled to go to FOB Dallas, but instead went back to FOB Miami.

"A change of plans," Bullard said. "We'll go to Dallas later tonight."

PSD members agree the NTC training is preparing them for their upcoming deployment.

"This is helping because I'm an aggressive fighter, and I'm not use to allowing anyone close to me," Jarvis said. "But here and over there, there are people all around you. This is helping me deal with that."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16