Dec. 3, 2009

Transportation company prepares for upcoming deployment in own back yard

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia National Guard’s Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company conducted a three-week pre mobilization training event Nov. 1-21 at Fort Pickett’s Maneuver Training Center to prepare for its upcoming mobilization to Afghanistan scheduled for Spring of 2010.

  1032nd Transportation Company

Soldiers from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company conduct pre-mobilization training Nov. 17 at the Fort Pickett urban training site. The unit has received a mobilization order to enter federal active duty on March 19, 2010, and approximately 170 Soldiers are scheduled to conduct mobilization training for about 45 to 60 days at Fort Dix, New Jersey, then deploy to Afghanistan where they are expected to perform the mission of providing convoy security. The mobilization is planned to last 12 months. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The idea behind pre mobilization in the unit’s home state is to give the Soldiers an opportunity to complete some of their required mobilization training closer to home and minimize their time spent at the mobilization site at Fort Dix, N.J., according to Capt. Jessicah Garrett, commander of the 1032nd. “This will cut down on their (mobilization) time at Dix, and allow them more time to spend with their families,” said Garrett.

During the training at Fort Pickett the Soldiers focused on several key tasks. They focused on individual weapons qualification, military operations in urban terrain, improvised explosive device defeat lanes and several mandatory briefings and classes designed to ready the Soldiers for the deployment, according to Sgt. 1st Class Ron Ryan, a platoon sergeant in the company.

While the Soldiers were performing operations at the MOUT site they were able to train on some equipment they may possibly be utilizing while overseas. To make the training as accurate as possible the unit was loaned a few Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles from a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.

“We asked the Navy EOD if we could use their MRAPs,” said Garrett. “And they said yes.”

To train the Soldiers on the MRAP vehicles the unit sent several Soldiers to MRAP University in Texarkana, Texas, where they were provided advanced operator and field maintenance training on all versions of the MRAP. Both the maintenance and operator courses are ‘train the trainer courses,’ which means once the Soldiers are certified, they can come back to their home unit and train others, according to Ryan.

“We sent 15 Soldiers to the MRAP-U operators and maintenance courses, so they could become familiar with vehicle we may be using as our main transportation when we are over there,” said Garrett.

  1032nd Transportation Company

Soldiers from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company conduct pre-mobilization training Nov. 17 at the Fort Pickett urban training site. The unit has received a mobilization order to enter federal active duty on March 19, 2010, and approximately 170 Soldiers are scheduled to conduct mobilization training for about 45 to 60 days at Fort Dix, New Jersey, then deploy to Afghanistan where they are expected to perform the mission of providing convoy security. The mobilization is planned to last 12 months. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“The two weeks at the university was pretty neat,” said Ryan. “We trained on all five models of the vehicle. They have different versions of the vehicles and we got to drive them all.”

“The time spent at Pickett gave us a chance to get familiar driving them and getting used to the weight and turning radius in simulated combat,” he said. “We got some real good training and some good familiarization out of them.”

The company of Approximately 170 Soldiers is currently trained and organized as a heavy cargo transportation company, but they will be trained and equipped for convoy security operations while deployed overseas, explained Garrett.

“We will be trained and equipped similar to a military police company,” she said. “Our Soldiers and leaders are very familiar with convoy security operations.”

According to Ryan, the unit intends to send more Soldiers to the five-week long maintenance course again before they mobilize in the spring.

“This latest mobilization of a Virginia Guard unit is another example of how our Soldiers are being assigned some of the Army’s toughest and most challenging missions,” said Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “I am confident our Soldiers are ready for the challenge.”

The 1032nd last served on active duty in Iraq from Marc 2003 to April 2004 and logged more than two million miles hauling cargo across the area of operations.

This mission will provide different and unique challenges to the last deployment, since instead of hauling the cargo they will be providing security to contractors who will actually be pulling the loads, according to Ryan, who deployed with the unit to Iraq.

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