By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public AffairsNovember 17, 2008
FORT BLISS, Texas - After a set of final checks, the convoy is ready to go.
The convoy pulls out of their forward operating base and moves along their route, keeping watch for dangers along the way.
Their mission, which started about 9 p.m. Nov. 12, is to deliver simulated bulk fuel to a forward operation base about 2 hours away, in the New Mexico desert, and return safely by morning.
All of this is part of reverse-cycle training for the 47th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, in preparation for an upcoming rotation to the National Training Center in California as well as a deployment to Iraq.
According to the company's commander Capt. Jennifer McIntyre, the training started Nov. 4 and will continued through the 14th.
McIntyre said the training is meant to prepare the Soldiers for their mission delivering bulk fuel and other supplies to areas throughout Iraq by ensuring they are prepared for anything that may happen along the way, with a focus on their reaction to improvised explosive devices, calling for helicopter medical evacuations and conducting casualty evacuations.
Staff Sgt. John Jenerou, the platoon sergeant for the 3rd Platoon, said the training was tough because the unit was working with limited resources and borrowed vehicles, but it gave some of the younger, less experienced drivers a chance to actually get some wheel time in a convoy situation.
Jenerou explained many of the drivers in the unit are fresh out of their advanced training, and haven't had any practical experience yet.
"It gives them real life experience - dealing with traffic and driving on secondary roads," Jenerou, a Mt. Pleasant, Mich., native, said.
Pvt. Addison Maurice, a truck driver with 3rd Platoon who has been in the Army about a year, said he learned a lot over the course of the training, and he now feels confident about what to do if something happens.
"I feel pretty safe about it," Maurice, a Redford, Mich., native, said.
Jenerou also expressed extreme confidence in his Soldiers readiness for the mission.
"The only thing they could bring at us that we might not know how to deal with is a UFO," he beamed, referring to the opposition forces that they might encounter on their mission.
According to Jenerou, the unit will continue training, by sending the Soldiers to a course for fuel handlers and a school on the Army's tactical command and control system, before they deploy to NTC in January.