July 31, 2009
Virginia Guard truckers support 10th Mountain Div.
By Pfc. Blair Neelands
1st BCT, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. — Truck drivers from the Virginia Army National Guard took to the open road recently and conducted a mission that not only helps them train for possible deployment to South West Asia, but also supports one of the Army’s most deployable combat units – the 10th Mountain Division.
Making sure his load is tightly shackled to his truck’s trailer, a Soldier from the Virginia Army National Guard’s 1032nd Transportation Company prepares to leave Fort Drum, N.Y., for a 1,500 mile line-haul to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La. Transportation Soldiers from the Virginia Guard are helping provide logistical support to the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team during their rotation at JRTC in preparation for deployment to Iraq. (Photo by Pfc. Blair Neelands, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs)
Nearly 60 Guardsmen from the 1032nd Transportation Company left their armory in Gate City, Va., July 25, and made the two-day trek to Fort Drum in northern New York in order to load equipment for the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, and carry out a long-haul mission to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Doug Messner, commander of the 1030th Transportation Battalion. “Normally we’ll do local moves supporting civil agencies and only travel a few miles.”
For this move the Virginia Guard is actually using two of its truck companies; the 1032nd will move the equipment to Fort Polk, and the Martinsville, Va., based 1173rd Transportation Company will return it back to Fort Drum after the exercise. In total, the Guard truckers will travel more 3,000 miles and log-in nearly 60 hours of road time.
“These guys are getting phenomenal road time,” added Nessner. “Plus, they’re able to work on their loading and unloading skills.”
Using 27 M915 trackers, a truck built by Freightliner and based on a commercial long-haul rig, the Guardsmen will load, transport and unload 40 pieces of the 1BCT’s equipment that range from trucks, to trailers, to storage containers.
One of the company’s truck drivers, Sgt. Kent Tucker, says a lot of planning has gone into their mission supporting 1st BCT and safety is always their number one priority.
“Safety is our first concern,” Tucker said. “We have two drivers per truck. We like to make rest stops often and switch drivers. It gives everyone a break. That’s one of the reasons it takes us four days to get to Louisiana.”
During the movement the drivers are only allowed to travel at a top speed of 50 mph and are limited to 10 hours of driving time a day.
Pfc. Christopher Dickenson, another truck driver in the company, says he has enjoyed supporting the 1st BCT and getting the chance to experience a little bit of northern New York.
“It’s been an experience to come up here and see Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division and get the chance to help out with their mission,” Dickenson said.
The1st BCT will be at JRTC throughout the month of August as they prepare for their eventual deployment back to Iraq early next year.