Bandits of 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), are the eyes and ears of the brigade.
To enable the squadron to conduct timely, effective and accurate reconnaissance each trooper must be able to operate his or her equipment at a moment’s notice and trust that it will be fully functional when needed. The Soldiers of Draught Troop, 1-32nd Cav. Regt., have been keeping the squadron ready to fight throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increase of mission essential manning during the division’s response to COVID-19 consists of maintenance professionals. Draught Troop had to prepare to keep their squadron at a high state of readiness despite the pandemic, and the Troop leadership knew sustainment was not the only mission they had to achieve.
First Sergeant David Taylor, D Troop, 1-32nd Cav. Regt. first sergeant, sat down with his commander and discussed the challenges ahead.
“The commander and I had a discussion that the main effort of this is COVID-19 prevention,” Taylor said.
During the pandemic, cleaning supplies and protective equipment can be scarce as the entire nation continues to fight the virus. The command team assisted the company and entire squadron by becoming resourceful.
“Our troops need masks,” Taylor said. “We reached out to the FRG and identified a few Families with sewing machines, and they were more than willing to help.”
The Draught Family Readiness Group came up with an idea for a collection bin within the troop area to collect donations of clean fabric so volunteers could sew enough face masks to resource not just the troop, but the entire squadron.
“They fueled the squadron with masks,” Taylor said. “The spouses helped out a lot and it has been a real team effort.”
The command team then worked on emphasizing the cleanliness of the motor pool, where Soldiers would come near each other the most.
“The motor pool is a potential hot zone for the virus, so we put together a clean team that comes through twice a day to clean,” Taylor said.
The clean team comes into the motor pool to clean and sanitize to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all the mechanics who work there. Their safety is also accounted for by the command.
Captain Markus Jones, company commander, Draught Troop, 1-32nd Cav. Regt., worked with Taylor to develop a different type of mask for his clean team with 3-D printing technology.
“First Sergeant Taylor has some history and experience with a 3-D printer,” Jones said. “So, we have two types of masks in the company. We have one for the troopers made by the FRG and the face shields that we created with our 3-D printer for the clean team.”
Their resourcefulness not only assists the Cavalry troopers but has found a way to help the 531st Hospital Center.
“We reached out to Soldiers in the 531st and stated we have 3-D printing capability,” Jones said. “They specifically asked for ear savers. They wear those masks for over 12 hours a day so these assist with keeping the mask more secure on their face and their ears more comfortable. We sent approximately 50 or 60 of them within 48 hours.”
The forward support company’s safety efforts are paying off right here at home with mission readiness. Pacing items are equipment that an organization must have to conduct operations. 1-32nd Cav. Regt., have the most pacing items in the brigade and their sustainers are conducting maintenance to ensure those items are ready when the nation calls.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christian Rivera, automotive maintenance officer, 1-32 Cav. Regt., is instrumental in motor pool operations and the readiness of all the equipment within the organization.
“First Sergeant was able to get us these masks so we can keep going,” Rivera said. “We’re currently at 98% on our pacing items and doing really well. These Soldiers are working hard and doing a great job to maintain our readiness.”
Throughout the motor pool, the Draught Troopers are hard at work with protective equipment repairing more than 90 vehicles, maintaining generators and conducting preventive maintenance and services on the Cavalry’s weapon systems.
“An engine for this humvee came in today,” Rivera said. “These guys won’t leave until it’s done. These guys work hard. It’s definitely tough to maintain social distancing while taking out an engine, so I’m glad we have the protective equipment we need.”
The company commander recognizes how motivated the troopers are to work and get the mission done.
“I think the Soldiers are doing a great job and doing everything we’re asking them and more,” Jones said. “At times we have to pull them back a little bit because they’ll go 110% and we have to ensure they’re safety.