July 14, 2008

Logisiticians focus on tactical skill while still providing support

By Sgt. Jesse L. Houk
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers from the Danville-based 429th Brigade Support Battalion tested their ability to provide logistical support under hostile fire conditions during the annual training at Fort Pickett from June 13 to 27. The unit’s mission was to provide logistical support to the 116th Brigade Combat Team and simultaneously conduct individual and squad training.

“If we are not alive we can’t provide logistical support and the units of the brigade won’t survive,” said Lt. Col. Guy T. Gormley, commander of the 429th Brigade Support Battalion. “If we can’t provide logistical support, they will begin to run out of the basics like ammunition and food and will not be able to function tactically.”

Soldiers from the 429th BSB participated in training that would help to prevent their supply chain from being broken.  They carried out normal supply operations, but faced simulated attacks along the way.

“We hardly ever get a chance to train in a tactical environment so this AT is vital for the success of our unit,” said Gormley.
The overall mission of the 429th BSB is essentially the same as its mission during AT: to support the 116th BCT.  Some companies of the 429th BSB were on recovery from federal service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and were not able to participate in the AT.   

“I think if we had all the players involved we could definitely support the entire brigade,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Henry A. Motley, command sergeant major of the 429th BSB.  “The Soldiers and their skills have never been in question. It’s deployments that have kept our numbers down and have prevented us from working at full force.”

The 429th BSB is comprised of eight companies and situated throughout 12 armories.  The companies include Headquarters Company from Danville, Va.; A Company (distribution) from South Boston, Chatham, and Bowling Green, Va.; B Company (maintenance) from Richmond, Va.; C Company (medical) from Charlottesville, Va.; D Company (forward support) from Portsmouth and Franklin, Va.; E Company (forward support) from Roanoke, Va.; F Company (forward support) from Fredericksburg and Winchester, Va.; and G Company from Norfolk, Va.

AT was an environment where Soldiers of the 429th BSB, who are from all around the Commonwealth, could come together to unite in training with a common purpose.

Many of the younger noncommissioned officers were praised for their efforts in making AT a success.

“It was good to see our young leaders step up. The specialists, sergeants and staff sergeants made this AT happen” said Gormley.

 That sentiment shared by many within the 429th leadership.

“The Virginia Guard is lucky to have young energetic warriors who are willing and want to do their best for their country,” said Motley.

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