By Pvt. Terrell Osborne, 18th Engineer Brigade Public AffairsDecember 7, 2012
SCHWEINFURT, Germany -- Soldiers of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's 15th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade, held a vehicle rodeo to evaluate their Soldiers' knowledge and driving skills at Camp Robertson and Conn Barracks, here, Nov. 19.
The rodeo was comprised of multiple events to evaluate a Soldier's ability to conduct preventive maintenance checks and services, drive, and perform mission essential tasks with a Humvee.
"We did scenarios in the motor pool such as how to react if fuel or some kind of chemical got in your eyes, how to hook up a Humvee to a generator, how to turn on the generator, how to switch out a spare tire on a Humvee, and then how to react to enemies," said Pfc. Fredrick Buxton, a fueler with the 500th Engineer Company.
"We did a little bit of everything ... it was great," he added.
The rodeo was a learning experience for many of the Soldiers participating. Additionally, a few junior officers got the opportunity to participate and gain valuable leadership skills.
"It made me think about a lot of things to maybe plan better next time," said 2nd Lt. Jonathan Craun, a platoon leader with the Forward Support Company. "It helped me visualize how these things would really go, it's one thing to do it in a simulated environment and another thing to actually do it for real."
Safety, like always, was taken into special consideration during the event, making sure all Soldiers had a realistic, yet safe training exercise where nobody would be harmed.
"That was the number-one thing I was taught - whatever we're doing and whatever we're going to do, safety is key," said Buxton. "Everybody wants to go out breathing and come back breathing."
Proper Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services was a major theme at the daytime portion of the rodeo. Soldiers were encouraged to perform thorough PMCS of vehicles to ensure they were mission ready.
"The last thing you want to happen is taking a vehicle or some type of machine out in a combat zone and then it fails on you," said FSC Squad Leader Sgt. Roger Binning.
The drills the Soldiers performed required them to go out as teams and execute convoy operations, such as driving with night vision goggles at night and recovering an inoperable Humvee.
"I think this really opened up people's eyes to the importance of convoy ops," said Craun.
Even though the vehicle rodeo was meant to improve convoy operations effectiveness and familiarization with the Humvee, Soldiers felt as if it also reinforced the everyday Army value of teamwork.
"It makes you see who's capable of doing what, what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are, so if I'm weak in an area someone else is stronger in we can help each other out and that definitely builds unit cohesion," said Binning.