By Spc. Jay Venturini, 354TH MPADAugust 13, 2009
SIERRA ARMY DEPOT, Calif.-- Every job and every Soldier is vital to the overall success of the Army. Without a few military occupational specialties, it would be difficult for the rest of the Army to operate- to include Army mechanics. The Army Reserve Soldiers of the 423rd Transportation Company motor pool from Colorado Springs, Colo., have to keep the vehicles working and the convoys moving throughout the Golden Cargo exercise here throughout the month of July. "We are responsible for ensuring that the vehicles are in working order before and after every convoy," said Chief Warrant Officer Victor Heale, 423rd officer-in-charge. "It's a lot of work, but it's up to us to keep the ammo moving [to Hawthorne Army Depot, Nev.]." The purpose of the exercise, which is sponsored by the Joint Munitions Command, is to provide real-world training for ordnance and transportation companies from around the nation. To ensure that the trucks are in working order, the Soldiers give each one a thorough inspection to include all the various fluids, lights, brakes and tires. "The main issue that we have been experiencing is minor fluid leaks," said Pfc. Michael Grimes, 423rd. "But that is to be expected with these new vehicles so it really hasn't been too difficult to handle." Because the convoys leave Sierra at 5 a.m. and don't return until around 5 p.m., the motor pool is required to work long, odd hours. "Our typical day starts out around 2 a.m. and doesn't end till at least 10 at night," said Heale. "We try to give the Soldiers time to rest during the afternoon because of the heat and the late nights." Due to the long hours, heavy machinery and combustible fluids, safety is always on the forefront of everyone's mind. "We ensure that the Soldiers wear a hard hat and safety glasses at all times while working on the vehicles," said Heale. "We also always work as a team and watch each other's back to ensure no one gets hurt." With the unit recently being converted to a palletized loading system unit, they are using the training to learn everything they can about the vehicles. "This exercise is a great learning experience for all of us," Grimes. "Actually getting to work on the trucks and learning their little quirks will definitely help us down the road." With the Golden Cargo exercise hinging on the movement of ammunition to Hawthorne, there is a lot of pressure on the Soldiers of the 423rd but they are determined not to disappoint. "We are up for the challenge," said Heale. "My Soldiers are doing great getting the job done and I don't see us having any major problems from here on out."