524th CSSB runs muddy convoy live-fire exercise

| May 17, 2013 | 0 Comments
Spc. Joe McAvin, 536th Support Maintenance Company, 524th CSSB, 45th SB, plays the role of a field casualty while Soldiers from his unit work to evaluate him during a pre-deployment certification field exercise, April 24.

Spc. Joe McAvin, 536th Support Maintenance Company, 524th CSSB, 45th SB, plays the role of a field casualty while Soldiers from his unit work to evaluate him during a pre-deployment certification field exercise, April 24.

Story and photos by Spc. Erin Sherwood
45th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs
8th Theater Sustainment Command

From a distance, everything appeared calm.

A line of humvees slowly curled their way around the trails of East Range; their gunners poised at the ready for appearance of the enemy.

However, this was not reacting to an invasion by a foreign power. The 536th Support Maintenance Company, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, conducted a convoy live-fire exercise, recently, in preparation for its upcoming deployment to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

The exercise was one of many the 524th CSSB is conducting to prepare its Soldiers for possible situations while they are downrange.

This mission focused on recovery of a damaged vehicle. The Soldiers were expected to work as a unit to recover the disabled vehicle as quickly as possible, to react to enemy contact appropriately and to rescue a casualty.

“Communication with this stuff is really important,” said Sgt. Jose Figuroa, vehicle maintenance, “It can be tough because you have to communicate effectively with both your vehicle and the other gunners.”

Figuroa, who was the gunner for the last truck in the exercise, said he thought the exercise went well.

“But we could always use more practice,” he added.

The terrain on East Range couldn’t have been more challenging. On the site where the exercise was conducted, a recent rainstorm made the mud soft and gooey. After the maintenance was performed, Soldiers had to figure out a way to get the vehicles out of the mud and back on the main path.

The exercise was only training, but Maj. John Lankford, the officer in charge of support operations for the 536th, wants his Soldiers to remember they are preparing for a real rescue mission.

“When you’re out in Afghanistan, you might not have four hours to recover a vehicle,” he said. “You may need to do it in one. Guys on the wire are relying on you to get them out and going again. You have to have a sense of urgency.”

The Soldiers gathered for an in-depth after-action review at the motor pool, and while the training went well, they have a ways to go before they are warfighter ready to make a vehicle recovery in Afghanistan.

After a quick breather, they were off again at 4 p.m., for their next pre-deployment exercise.

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Category: News, Training

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