FORT STEWART, Ga. - Starting with little to nothing is a tough task, no matter who you are. It is even more of a challenge for an Army unit to start with little to nothing and build itself up in time for a deployment within the year. But that is exactly what the 396th Transportation Company, 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade has been asked to do since they were activated in October 2008.

Aca,!A"We started off with basically nothing,Aca,!A? said 1st Sgt. James Fields Jr., first sergeant for the 396th Trans. Co. Aca,!A"We didnAca,!a,,ct have any vehicles. We didnAca,!a,,ct have key leaders (platoon leaders, platoon sergeants). We basically had privates in charge of privates. It was a real challenge. WeAca,!a,,cve definitely come a long way from what we started from to where we are today.Aca,!A?

Getting the equipment and Soldiers they needed in a short time in preparation for deployment was a daunting task.

Aca,!A"It was a hard task, but everyone fell in and did their job,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Charles Howard Jr., 396th Trans. Co. Aca,!A"All the Soldiers fell into their place and stepped up.Aca,!A?

Fast forward eight months, and the newly-activated 396th Trans. Co. has ample equipment and leadership to get the mission accomplished, said 1st Sgt. Fields.

The 396th Trans. Co. is currently going through a mission readiness exercise to prepare them for situations they could face during their upcoming deployment.

Aca,!A"They always say Aca,!Eoetrain as you fight;Aca,!a,,c that is the Army standard,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Howard. Aca,!A"This really trains up a lot of people who have just gotten into the Army and gets them used to what they might encounter in Iraq.Aca,!A?

The four-week exercise will test the SoldiersAca,!a,,c mettle in combat situations, said 1st Sgt. Fields. It will make sure Soldiers are in the proper uniform, vehicles are ready, and weapon systems are checked. But the exercise will mainly ensure that once 396th Trans. Co. Soldiers roll through the gate, they are 100-percent squared away, he said.

Aca,!A"We really want these guys focused on proper pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections,Aca,!A? said 1st Sgt. Fields. Aca,!A"The Soldiers are starting to come together as a cohesive team and really develop teamwork. This exercise is starting to bring together everything that weAca,!a,,cve been training on. ItAca,!a,,cs helping the Soldiers see the big picture.Aca,!A?

The training is more than just teaching Soldiers how to react to situations in a combat zone; itAca,!a,,cs teaching them survival. These lessons arenAca,!a,,ct lost on the companyAca,!a,,cs junior enlisted Soldiers.

Aca,!A"Without this training, youAca,!a,,cre basically going downrange blindfolded,Aca,!A? said Pfc. Andrew Poltrorak, 396th Trans. Co. Aca,!A"This training is going help you look after your battle buddy. This training is what is going help you come back home to your Family. This training is what is going to save your life.Aca,!A?