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4th Support Battalion Keeps Rolling Under Fire
By Spc. C. Terrell Turner / 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas, Dec. 16, 2004 – The 4th Support Battalion soldiers here recently used small convoys of four or five Light Medium Tactical Vehicles and Humvees to complete a weeklong convoy, live-fire exercise here at Pilot Knob multi-use range.

"This training is essential to us accomplishing our mission," said Cpt. Nelson Duckson, commander, Headquarters Distribution Company, 4th Support Battalion.. The success of other units depends on us being able to provide maintenance, support and supplies. We need to be able to protect ourselves going from point A to point B."

"The toughest part is keeping the soldiers focused because no one is shooting back," said 1st Sgt. Jonathan Haywood, Headquarters Distribution Company

The unit provides mechanical, medical and supply support to the 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 4th Infantry Division. To ensure the soldiers are capable of fulfilling their duties during combat, classroom instruction dealt with how to deal with improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades and react to ambush while in a convoy.

During the exercise, 4th Support Battalion soldiers engaged pop-up targets from moving vehicles, and the convoy continued on before stopping to recover a disabled vehicle. Several simulated casualties required a medical evacuation vehicle to arrive on the scene while the soldiers established security around the area and recovered the disabled vehicle. This was accomplished under normal and chemical attack situations.

"The exercise went pretty good," said Staff Sgt. David Victoroff, medical platoon sergeant, Company C. Victoroff, a two-year veteran of 4th Support Battalion who deployed to Iraq with the battalion. "I observed the soldiers as a safety to make sure they executed correctly, as if they were in Iraq. Normally I would set up an aid station, maintain constant radio contact and coordinate medical evacuations with the unit."

Once the unit recovered the disabled vehicle, the convoy continued on through the rest of the course. After the first run, the unit swapped out blank ammunition for live rounds. During the break, senior leaders went over the dry run and made observations.

"I think this is a very good form of training," said 1st Sgt. Jonathan Haywood, Headquarters Distribution Company. "Hopefully this will become the standard. The sergeants have been doing a great job, the E-5s especially and even the E-4s have really stepped it up.

"The initial phase began with how we were going to set up the engagements," he said. "There was a lot of planning involved. Including classroom time and Sergeants Time training, it took six to eight weeks of just planning. There's a lot of preparation because there are so many things to focus on."

Haywood said there were difficulties but looks forward to more training in the future.

Duckson said 4th Support Battalion provides multiple types of support to the maneuver brigade. This support includes supply, maintenance, medical and support elements. The unit contains a wide range of military occupational specialties, each their specific missions.

"This is excellent training," said Spc. Jason Comer. "It helps you to learn how to react to dangerous situations and help train people who are new to the unit." Comer, a Company D welder and truck commander for the exercise, has been in the unit for two years.

Spc. Nathan Huber, a wrecker operator in Company D, assisted in the recovery of a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle during the exercise. His mission is to support and recover Army assets. Normally, Huber recovers track vehicles. In Iraq, he said, he recovered about 20 or 30 vehicles.

The wrecker is operated by a two-man team and is designed to handle anything weighing five tons and below. Huber said teamwork is especially important.

"If you're not working with your guy, you won't get anything done and you'll wind up getting hurt," he said.
Last Updated:
11/30/2005, Eastern Daylight Time
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