By Sgt. Brandon M. BanzhafOctober 6, 2014
FORT HOOD, Texas (Oct. 6, 2014) -- Some tracks are designed to propel tanks rapidly through the battlefield while others lay motionless on the ground awaiting locomotives.
For the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, both types of tracks played an important role in moving cargo, worth an estimated $80 million, from Fort Carson, Colorado, to Fort Hood, Texas.
The 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, received 29 M1A2 Abrams tanks shipped from more than 800 miles via rail car, Sept. 26.
"The battalion left 29 tanks in Korea and we received 29 to replace them," said Capt. Steve Naser, commander of the 1-12th Cavalry rear detachment, and a native of Raleigh, North Carolina.
He said the battalion will have mission ready tanks for training when it redeploys this month from Korea.
The 1-12th Cavalry is in the process of returning to Fort Hood after the successful completion of a nine-month-long tour in South Korea. The battalion was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, while on the peninsula as a combined-arms battalion, which is designed to be near self-sustaining on the modern battlefield.
In preparation for returning to Fort Hood, the battalion ensured that the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which is the unit replacing 1-12th Cavalry in Korea, would arrive to equipment that works.
"They spent a lot of time getting their tanks fully mission capable and preparing them to a condition as if they are brand new," said Nasser of the equipment the 1-12th Cavalry is leaving in Korea, for the follow-on rotational unit.
The day began with more than 50 Soldiers wearing Army Combat Helmets, eye protection, reflective belts and gloves, and listening to a worker from the Railroad Operations Center tell them the do's and don'ts of downloading equipment from the rail cars.
Soldiers with safety measures fresh in their minds, divided into teams and approached the rail cars carrying the newly arrived armored war machines.
"First, they get the Abrams off the rail cars and stage them," said Naser. "We have licensed drivers ready to move the tanks to our motor pool."
Leaders instructed the tank drivers to follow designated tank trails, or dirt roads, while heading to their destination. Road guards were staged at every intersection along the trails to provide safety for civilian traffic and expedite the convoy.
"We have about 50 people in the rear detachment," said 1st Lt. Corey Carmack, who hails from nearby Copperas Cove, Texas, and serves as the 1-12th Cavalry rear detachment executive officer. "We received help from other battalions."
Four sister battalions worked together to ensure 1-12th Cavalry's equipment was accounted for and secured.
"The use of the railroad played a key part in allowing us to safely and securely move our equipment from Fort Carson to Fort Hood," said Naser. "The staff ensured that the equipment arrived at its destination in the same condition it left, and did so in a timely manner."
The decision to transfer this equipment from Fort Carson to Fort Hood saved the Army an estimated $85 million, according to Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Chim, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Property Book non-commissioned officer in charge.