By Spc. Ann Marie WhiteMay 13, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - The Soldiers of the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, are accustomed to supporting other units in the military, but they have to support themselves as well.
During the Leopard Battalion's recent convoy live fire exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, it took the participation of the entire unit to execute and complete the training.
Sgt. 1st Class Bryon Mills is one of the many Soldiers who helped coordinate the exercise. He said the training objective was to execute a rhythmic cycle during the course of the exercise.
"All participants who were involved in the convoy live fire training had the full support of the battalion," Mills said. "This is definitely the advantage that the Leopards have because of our diverse support roles."
Each company had their own specific roles throughout the exercise. For instance, the 602nd Maintenance Company provided hot meals for the troops in the field, the 157th Quartermaster Company operated the field showers, and the 53rd QM Co. ran fuel missions.
"This battalion has new, inexperienced service members who have never deployed before," said Sgt. 1st. Class Edward Martinez, a platoon sergeant in the 263rd Maint. Co. "So this training emphasizes the preparation needed to help avoid confusion on the battlefield."
"In our role as logistics supporters, we have prominent specialties within our duties," said 1st Lt. Stephen Brenner, a platoon leader in the 263rd Maint. Co. "And in event-training such as this, participation is crucial to help bypass the shock that new Soldiers experience on their first deployments."
The 263rd actually began training for the battalion convoy live fire exercise more than 90 days before it happened.
"This was my first experience with convoy live fire training," said Pfc. Darius Spady, 263rd Maint. Co. "I realized how important it is to communicate. Plus the simulated combat environment taught me how to respond effectively."
"Everyone on our team had impeccable communication with each other," said Spc. Joseph-Kenneth Greenwell, 263rd Maint. Co. "The training we did three months ago boosted our confidence in this exercise."
The Leopard Battalion convoy live fire exercise tested both the leaders' skills to make decisions and the Soldiers' skills to react to contact.
"We ran six lanes with and without ammunition," said Brenner. "Each team was graded on their overall battle drill performance."
Mills said that training such as this, helps gives Soldiers a realistic and challenging picture of what to expect in combat. "Teams encountered unpredictable scenarios," he said.
(Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby from the 4th Sustainment Brigade contributed to this article)