FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The North Carolina National Guard transported M1A1 Abrams Tanks and M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles with Heavy Equipment Transport (HET) vehicles to Fort Pickett, Virginia, via I-95, on Sunday, March 18, 2018. This is the first time the NC Guard is using HETs for a long-distance convoy.

The HET is the Army's largest transport vehicle able to haul tremendous amounts of weight. The Abrams Tanks and Bradley's are heading to Fort Pickett to take part in NC Guard's 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team's gunnery training there.

"Never before has a movement of this magnitude been accomplished within North Carolina, let alone between two states, said Chief Warrant Officer 3, Jennifer Maloy, NC Guard's State Movement Officer. "By working closely with the North Carolina and Virginia Departments of Transportation, this 200-mile movement was made possible with competent drivers, escort vehicles, proper route planning and adequate time management."

The two state DOT's were able to provide approved routes after careful review of weights, dimensional data and bridge and highway tolerances in order to maintain safe movement without impeding civilian traffic flow on I-95 and roads to and from each post.

Capt. Mitchell Rick, commander of the 1452nd HET Transportation Company was excited to see his troops and the mighty HETs conducting the convoy operation

"Everyone has worked very hard to make today happen," said Rick. "Whether it's conducting basic preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS), fueling ops, loading and securing the tanks and Bradley's or route planning and dispatch, I'm truly proud of these Soldiers."

Staff Sgt. Hannah Bastys, a 1452nd HET operator for seven years said she and her team are ready for the mission.

"We are excited and know we will do this movement safely," said Bastys. "In a normal car it would take about two hours to get to Fort Pickett, but it will take us over six hours due to our speed and the route."

Like many of the Guardsmen getting ready for their convoy to start, Maloy was excited and proud to be a part of this historic NC Guard mission.

"This operation is an exciting event for any logistician," said Maloy. "It highlights North Carolina National Guard's inter-agency partnerships and its ability to mobilize huge pieces of equipment and transport it great distances in support of training operations."