By Staff Sgt. Jason Kendrick, 56th IBCT PAO, 36th Inf. Div., MND-BMarch 16, 2009
BAGHDAD - When their deployment began, Comanche Soldiers of Troop C, 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment, 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Washington National Guard were securing convoys from Al-Taqqadum.
Performing this task for only a short period of time in November and December while serving as part of Multi-National Force-West, they escorted more than 50 million pounds of freight and repelled enemy attacks 14 times.
Now they find themselves in Multi-National Division-Baghdad attached to the 1st Sqdn., 124th Cav. Regt., 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard securing Victory Base Complex's entry control points and towers on Camp Liberty. They have been serving in Iraq since November 2008.
While their mission with MND-B is vastly different from the one that they trained for and initially executed upon arrival in Iraq, they said they know the importance of their success in this duty.
"50,000 people get to wear a soft cap because of the work we do on the ECPs and towers," said 1st Lt. Stephen Silber, a platoon leader from Seattle.
Even though the troopers have processed more than 5,000 vehicles and 40,000 personnel through the ECPs on Camp Liberty since the turn of this year, their most-recent assignment has had fewer moving parts than their previous mission set allowing for these Soldiers to possibly lose some of their focus.
"The biggest thing we battle now is complacency," explained Capt. John Wheeler, commander, Troop C, who hails from Plymouth, N.H. "We are executing a lot of small arms ranges to keep them focused."
When the Troop changed their mission from one of convoy security to force protection, the first challenge was figuring out how to replace a unit twice the size of their own. It would be up to the non-commissioned officer corps to keep missions going.
"We came in and immediately knew that we had to do more with less," explained 1st Sgt. Kevin Brooker, senior enlisted leader for Troop C.
Brooker said his Soldiers were more than up to the task as they are very good at adapting to any situation.
Yet, the opportunity for the Soldiers of Troop C to adapt to a new mission is always around the corner and they will soon be moving on to another task in Iraq leaving MND-B and attaching themselves to another command. However, if their previous performance is any indicator, Troop C Soldiers will continue to prove that they are adept at change.