In six short years, Capt. Jason Wood has worked transportation challenges from the boots-on-the-ground duties of a platoon leader in Iraq to the complex environment at the highest levels of military logistics, picking up a prestigious Transportation Corps award along the way.

Wood, current aide-de-camp to the commanding general of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), has been deployed for three of his six years of service. His time downrange in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom has contributed to his selection as the 2009 Army Transportation Corps Regimental Officer of the Year Award. As a platoon leader in the 89th Transportation Company in Iraq in 2006, Wood ran 21 missions and logged more than 22,650 miles providing convoy escort security for local national, military and contracted transportation companies, providing all classes of supply throughout the Iraqi theater.

Nearly a third of Wood's convoys were struck by improvised explosive devices, small arms fire and complex attacks. Wood kept a cool head and was able to move the convoys to safety each time.

Wood was recognized as the best officer in the 89th Trans. Co., and was later selected as the unit's commander. 89th Trans. Co. deployed to Taji, Iraq in 2008.

As company commander, Wood supervised the completion of more than 800 convoys that covered more than 700,000 miles, carrying more than one million tons of supplies and equipment to U.S. and other Coalition forces in Iraq.

But more important than the tonnage of the gear they transported or how far it had to travel, according to Wood, is the fact that they completed their missions without losing a single Soldier.

"That's been the highlight of my transportation career: Being selected for company command, getting a chance to deploy them and bring everyone back safe," said Wood. "We spent an entire year in the Baghdad area and didn't lose any Soldiers."

As company commander, Wood said he learned a great deal about how to overcome personality conflicts and get groups of people to work together. He described one situation in which two people were ideally suited to solve a problem, but couldn't get along because of seemingly irreconcilable personal differences. An unconventional approach to the problem got the two Soldiers to work as a team.

"They were both really good at their respective jobs, and if any two could figure a fix to the problem it was them," said Wood. "So, long story short, I made them roommates. I know, scary, but it worked... I think they hated me more than they hated each other for a while."

Wood's skills and dedication as company commander ultimately led to his nomination and assignment as aide-de-camp for the commanding general, SDDC, Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge in 2010.

"I was extremely honored when they picked me as Officer of the Year," said Wood. "I owe it all to the great leaders I've had in the past and what I've learned from their mentorship. I also attribute it to all the Soldiers who have served under me. All their hard work makes the leader look good."

Wood extended personal thanks to Hodge, Col. Charles Maskell, 7th Sustainment Brigade commander, and Lt. Col. Kevin Powers at the 6th Transportation Battalion. Powers, who nominated Wood for the award, is himself a former Transportation Corps Officer of the Year. He also shares Wood's love of running.

Wood has run three marathons; one in Iraq, one in North Carolina and one in St. Louis. His fastest time is 3 hours, 28 minutes, but he said he hopes to finish his next marathon faster than 3 hours, 10 minutes in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Wood also runs shorter races, and recently placed third in a charity 5K run in Belleville, Ill.

"I didn't win, but I was talking to the Kenyan guy who beat me about his training and he said 'The cheetahs aren't that bad,' so I guess if he has to train with that, he deserves it," said Wood.

Wood will move to Fort Lee, Va., after the SDDC change of command in August, where he will continue serving as Hodge's aide-de-camp until his Transportation Officer Advanced Course begins in February 2011.

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