Convoy live fire develops fluidity, camaraderie
October 21, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Third Brigade Support Battalion spent a week in the field recently to qualify its convoy escort teams on a live fire lane, to cumulate on five months of developing the Soldiers individually and then building fully functioning teams. But on the Soldiers' personal level, this week was about building camaraderie with the battle buddies they will be working side-by-side with every day, and will possibly deploy with when the training ends and real-life combat missions begin.
"Without the ability of the convoy escort teams to go out and deliver the sustainment commodities for the entire brigade, the brigade commander cannot build his combat power," Lt. Col. Miles Townsend, 3rd BSB commander, explained. "It cannot be understated the importance of the gun crews and their ability to work together, communicate effectively, and destroy the enemy to get critical commodities to the trigger pullers."
Training on the convoy live fire ranges gives the gun teams a chance to work on communication within the individual trucks and throughout the convoy.
"We are getting ready for actual convoys and real world scenarios," said Spc. James Duke, a fueler with Co. A, 3rd BSB, and a native of Winnsboro, Texas "This is good training; this gets our younger Joes ready."
The Soldiers in the teams who have deployed in the past are teaching the newer Soldiers what is expected of them in a combat setting and how to function fluidly as a team.
"We have to be on our game 24/7 as a gun team," said Cpl. Andrew Jones, a driver with Co. A, 3rd BSB, and a native of Dayton, Penn. "The more the gun team is together the more they click, and the more unity they are going to have once e do go downrange. When I go down range, I want to know the person who is going to have my back."
As the support battalion for the entire brigade, it is 3rd BSB's mission to travel everywhere in the 1HBCT area of operation when deployed to deliver supplies to the other battalions, no matter how hazardous.
"We are up the earliest, we are out the longest, and we get the least amount of sleep, and these guys are learning that right now," Spc. Duke said. "We are stressing to the newer guys that we have to train this until we are 120 percent or things can go really badly."
"This is the capstone event for our individual training," Lt. Col. Townsend explained. "The brigade will have been back one year this December, [we have conducted] all of our individual training to the collective training, now we are bringing it all together, which is why we call it the capstone event. We've got the main BSB companies up here, and some of the forward support companies have come out and ran through."
Holding a fully functioning field training exercise like this has challenges, because although the training is necessary, normal daily operations still have to be maintained in the rear.
"If we brought the entire battalion out here we would begin to lose normal everyday operations that still have to continue to keep the brigade functioning in garrison," Lt. Col. Townsend added. "There is a very fine line that has to be walked in order to maintain those capabilities in the rear so it's seamless to all our sister battalions."
Although a struggle to maintain that balance, the benefits of the training on many levels are inestimable, said Townsend.
"You get to see so many capabilities in one location at one time working in concert," he explained. "This is a very small piece of everything, but it is a very critical and influential piece of the larger picture."
From the Soldiers working together to build fluidity and camaraderie within their teams to the battalion improving communication and operational techniques, the field exercise helped develop one key thing.
"The best thing that has come together from this is the teamwork," said Lt. Col. Townsend. "Within and across not only the battalion but with the sister battalions across the brigade. These events do not occur without teamwork and folks working together. Without that nothing is going to happen."