Soldiers Hit the Road to Keep Units Supplied
By Army 2nd Lt. Juan Torres
Special to American Forces Press Service
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE HUNTER, Iraq, Sept. 16, 2009 Forward support companies in Iraq routinely hit the pavement to deliver critical supplies to units remotely stationed in rural southern Maysan province.
Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Ayala examines Army Spc. Christian Gonzalez’s equipment before a combat logistics patrol to Joint Security Station Al Wahab on the Iran-Iraq border, Sept. 3, 2009. U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“I’ve been on enough patrols to know how important our mission is,” said Army Pfc. Seth Morgan, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic from Fruitland, Idaho, assigned to Delta Forward Support Company, 121st Brigade Support Battalion.
Each combat logistics patrol enables commanders to continue joint operations with Iraqi security forces along the Iraqi border.
“The troops we support need food, supplies and equipment to fulfill their missions,” Morgan said. “We get them what they need.”
The company’s soldiers, attached to 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, are responsible for accomplishing this important task. Covering more than 500 miles per week, they understand the complexity of each mission, their leaders said. Every trip offers unique challenges for soldiers to remain alert, as environments and conditions vary from villages to marshes and deserts. “We always practice battle drills before missions and report everything we see while on the road,” Army Spc. Derek Davies, a Bradley fighting vehicle system maintenance technician from Mansfield, Ohio, said.
The unit tested its tactical proficiency when an a roadside bomb designed to pierce armor detonated on one of their convoys, disabling a vehicle. Events like these act as a reminder of the inherent risks associated with their mission, the soldiers said.
But Delta doesn’t just run convoys to supply soldiers. The company’s mechanics also are support vehicles and equipment here and on the surrounding stations.
“We’ve been fortunate to have an excellent section of mechanics, ready to assist with any type of mechanical issue,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class John Ochoa, a maintenance noncommissioned officer from Tucson, Ariz. “It’s our job to keep [cavalry] on the road, allowing them to focus on their mission and not on their vehicle.”
Completing more than 150 unscheduled maintenance work orders since assuming control in May, Delta mechanics continue to provide pivotal support in weekly logistical operations.
(Army 2nd Lt. Juan Torres serves in the 1st Armored Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team.)