BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Jan. 7, 2008) -- In the world of sports, analogies are frequently made between the games played and battle. What the witty sportscasters and writers don't take into account is a glaring difference.

Combat doesn't get called on account of rain or poor field conditions.

The vehicle recovery team of the 610th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division recently trained for Baghdad's upcoming rainy season at Forward Operating Base Falcon.

The training consisted of pulling an M88 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift & Evacuation System, or "Hercules," out of the mud and back to dry ground. Participants in the training had to recover the 70-ton vehicle with both safety in mind.

Spc. David Waiter, a welder with the 610th's company B, said that while the training wasn't performed under easy conditions, he still enjoyed the event.

"I like getting out in the mud," he said. "Even though it's cold, I like it; it's fun. It's not easy, but it's not going to be easy work whenever you try to do it."

The Soldiers had to wade out in knee-deep cold water, and sometimes partially submerge themselves to hook up the disabled vehicle. Spc. Waiter added that the heavy equipment used, such as the 140-pound snatchblock, which is used to hook the recovery vehicle to its cargo, does not make their lives any easier.

"It's a workout to use," he said.

Master Sgt. Richard Carullo, the 610th support operations noncommissioned officer in charge, said the training was vital to Task Force Dragon's success because the Soldiers often take on additional missions while deployed.

"This is not our normal mission; we're a light infantry brigade," he said. "We're not normally assigned M88's or heavy equipment transports. We picked this mission up in theater, and having picked it up in theater, we haven't had the opportunity to train. We felt it was important because of the time of year, and because of the rainy season coming on, we needed to train Soldiers before they had to go into sector to recover vehicles stuck in the mud."

Despite having the extra challenge of adapting to an entirely new set of obstacles while conducting daily operations in a combat zone, Spc. Waiter said he takes everything in stride because all Soldiers face their own set of trials.

"We do what we have to do just like anybody else," he said. "We have our mission, they have theirs. To me, we're all on the same level."

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