FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Oct. 15, 2019) -- Soldiers from Fort Sill were busy Columbus Day as A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery prepared to convoy to Fort Hood, Texas. The deployment readiness exercise would take 36 Sill Soldiers to Texas to participate in a field training exercise.

Capt. Daniel Gordon, A/2-2nd FA commander, said the mission was a change for his battery, which supports Fires for Advanced Individual Training, the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course, and the Marine Artillery Detachment.

"I want them to get the experience of leaving Fort Sill, deploying, and conducting operations somewhere else," Gordon said. "They're flexing muscles they haven't used in a while with logistics, and moving vehicles."

The Sill Soldiers worked with 38 transportation Soldiers from Fort Hood's 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. The Soldiers drove their Heavy Equipment Transporter System or HETS coupled to semi-trailers here.

On Oct. 14, at 6:15 a.m., Gordon alerted his Soldiers. The unit then had two hours to attain 100 percent accountability of its Soldiers. After that, they moved their equipment to the motor pool at Currie and Upton roads for the load up.

"This is an example of what a micro deployment exercise would look like," Gordon said. "An overseas deployment would include rail and air."

At about 11 a.m. at the motor pool, Sill Soldiers loaded several of their 105mm howitzers, Humvees, a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle troop carrier, and a fire direction center. The equipment was loaded onto the waiting HETS, which had been driven here by Soldiers from the 96th Transportation Company.

Truck driver Staff Sgt. Kevin Sims, 96th Trans., said, "They call, we haul." He described the Sill deployment readiness exercise as a light load.

"Some of the heavy loads we typically do involve Abrams tanks."

Staff Sgt. Justin Jones, 154th Composite Transportation Company, and noncommissioned officer in charge of the joint transport mission, said the 368-mile drive to Fort Sill with his Soldiers and 19 vehicles, the coordination between the units, and the load up all went smoothly.

"My biggest concern was safety," Jones said. "But when you have well-trained, well-disciplined Soldiers then your mission will be a success."

"We made good time here from Fort Hood, and the load up time here only took 38 minutes," Jones said. "Now we're just refueling, getting restaged so there will be less chaos in the morning."

The convoy was scheduled to leave Oct. 15. The Sill Soldiers were going to ride in a charter bus, which would follow the convoy, Gordon said.

Once at Fort Hood, the cannoneers will support 1st Cavalry Division units, including 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, in a 10-day combined arms live-fire exercise, Gordon said. At the end of the exercise, the Fort Sill and Fort Hood Soldiers will again load up and return the howitzers to Oklahoma.