By Pfc. Antuan Rofe, 1HBCT Public Affairs OfficeMay 1, 2007
RODRIGUEZ LIVE-FIRE COMPLEX, Korea - Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Cavalry Regiment from Fort Irwin, Calif. have been training in Korea for the past month at Rodriguez Live-Fire Complex, but because of their tanks they must rely on the Heavy Equipment Transporter system to make it back home.
The members of Company C, 7th Korean Service Corps, with the help of the 2nd Bn., 11th Cav. Regt., transported seven M1A1 Abrams tanks and two M88 Recovery Vehicles from Rodriguez Live-Fire Complex back to Camp Carroll.
"The main challenge is making sure the tanks are to 10-20 standard, (which is) that the tanks are the way they are supposed to be," said Sgt. John Fields, maintenance non-commissioned officer, Co. H, 2nd Bn., 11th Cav. Regt.
Spc. Ulysses Willis, training NCO, 2nd Bn., 11th Cav. Regt., guided the tanks onto the HET ladders, but then handed the ground guiding duties to a member of the 7th KSC. The chains, harnesses and locks were then placed on the tanks to ensure they were secure during transport. This process continued until every tank had been secured, checked and re-checked by the crew.
"For my loading team, chain setup and safety are always first," said 2nd Lt. Pah, Taekun, executive officer, 7th Korean Service Corps.
"Safety is the biggest thing out here. We're messing with some equipment out here that weighs about 70 tons. You have to make sure everyone is doing the right thing and paying attention so that no one gets hurt," Sgt. Fields said.
At 2 p.m., the Soldiers began warming up and loading the tanks on the HETs. It took one and a half hours to load seven tanks and the recovery vehicles onto the HETs, but they had to wait until 10 p.m. before they were allowed to move the HETs back to Camp Casey. This was due to the special clearance required by the Korean government. After unloading, the HETs made their way back to Rodriguez Live- Fire Complex to pick up the remaining tanks. At 4 a.m.they moved them to be with their fellow 'battle buddies.'
All the pre-combat inspections and checks had been done so all the crews had to do was convoy them to Camp Casey to be cleaned. There they waited for the call to take them back home, Fields said. The tanks were then re-deployed from Camp Casey back to Fort Irwin.
"All of the training facilities are second to none and we want to thank the Second Infantry Division for letting us train here," Sgt. Fields said. "It was an unforgettable experience for all of the Soldiers."