By Spc. Samuel J. Phillips, MNC-I PAOMay 3, 2008
Every day Rhinos go back and forth from Camp Victory to the International Zone, and it falls on Task Force Dragon, Headquarters Support Company, Special Troops Battalion, Multi-National Corps - Iraq, to ensure that the passengers on these up-armored buses arrive there safely.
In addition to providing convoy security for the Rhinos, TF Dragon also has a quick reaction force just in case something goes wrong. The QRF's sole purpose is to wait with gear and vehicles ready to be out the gate in minutes if the convoy is hit.
"We are on constant standby when the Rhinos are moving," said Sgt. First Class Alan Sutton, platoon sergeant, Cold Steele. "While the convoy is outside the wire, we leave the vehicles running with our gear inside. If something happens, we need to be able to get there as fast as possible."
With Rhino missions beginning as early as 6 a.m. and going until 6 p.m., QRF often finds themselves pulling long days. "We have to be in at least an hour and a half before the Rhino is scheduled to roll out," said Sgt. Matthew D. Chance, lead vehicle commander.
Though the QRF is always on call, just waiting for something to happen can be very boring. The QRF has many ways to keep itself occupied, some of which include conducting training and drills.
"We sometimes run drills to see how long it takes us to make it to the gate once the signal is given," Sutton said. "It also keeps the Soldiers ready for when something really might happen."
The QRF Soldiers also find other activities to keep busy.
One of the most popular things to do is play ping pong. "We get some pretty intense games going," Sutton said.
Despite the fun and games, TF Dragon's QRF is constantly ready for anything that gets thrown at it. "We have a good group of Soldiers here, and they are good at what they do," Sutton said.