429th BSB continues to build on tactical sustainment skills at AT

Soldiers from the South Boston-based Company A, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deliver potable water in the Load Handling System Compatible Water Tank Rack, also known as the Hippo, June 14, 2013, during 116th IBCT annual training at Fort Pickett, Va. Soldiers from Company A use the Tactical Water Purification System to create potable water from a lake at Fort Pickett, and the water is then pumped into the Hippo for transport to units in the field. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the South Boston-based Company A, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deliver potable water in the Load Handling System Compatible Water Tank Rack, also known as the Hippo, June 14, 2013, during 116th IBCT annual training at Fort Pickett, Va. Soldiers from Company A use the Tactical Water Purification System to create potable water from a lake at Fort Pickett, and the water is then pumped into the Hippo for transport to units in the field. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers from the Danville-based 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team continued to build on their past training successes with a challenging annual training period focused on tactical field operations at Fort Picket from June 8-22, 2013.

“We wanted to build on the success of last year and demonstrate our ability to support the entire 116th IBCT with supply of water, food, fuel and ammo as well as providing maintenance and medical support,” said Lt. Col. Billy Tucker, commander of the 429th.

Tucker explained that during 2012 annual training, the 429th pushed support from Fort Pickett to Fort A. P. Hill where the maneuver battalions of the 116th were training, but only about 50% of the brigade was there due mobilizations. For 2013 annual training, the entire brigade was on the ground in one place for the first time since the 116th transformed in 2005, and that presented new challenges.

“Last year the challenge was time and distance,” Tucker said. “This year it was quantity of missions and volume of support provided.”

The mission of the 429th is to provide sustainment support to the entire 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the Virginia Guard’s largest major command with more than 3,600 Soldiers.

Each maneuver battalion has a forward support company from the 429th to provide general support to keep them fed, fueled and armed and equipment running, and the 429th also has companies to provide specialized support to the entire brigade. The South Boston-based Company A provides distribution of fuel, ammunition, water and other supply items as well as having capabilities for water purification, the Richmond-based Company B provides maintenance support for vehicles as well as weapons, radios and other electronic devices and the Charlottesville–based Company C provides medical support.

“Overall, the battalion did very well during annual training, and there was a lot of hard work by our Soldiers,” Tucker said.

The battalion established operations in the field on the second day of annual training, and spent a total of seven days operating in a tactical environment. In addition to their support operations, they also conducted staff training and operated the command post communications.

“We established an employed all of our communications systems, and we realized we have some work to do,” Tucker said. “But it is important that we had every system up and running, and we were able to maintain communications with the brigade.”

Soldiers from Company A continued their fuel transport mission where they uploaded excess fuel from the now-closed Walter Reed Medical Center and transported it to Fort Pickett. They were able to transport more than 80,000 gallons of fuel to save Fort Pickett an estimated $260,000 in fuel costs. They also produced more than 33,600 gallons of fresh water and distributed 24,500 gallons using the Load Handling System Compatible Water Tank Rack, also known as the Hippo, for the first time. They used the Tactical Water Purification System to create potable water from a lake at Fort Pickett, and the water was then pumped into the Hippo for transport to units in the field.

The battalion had eight Hippos on loan from the North Carolina National Guard for annual training, and they provided a dramatic increase in water storage and transport capabilities over the traditional M-149 400-gallon water trailer, better known as the water buffalo. The Hippo consists of a 2,000-gallon potable water tank with an integrated pump, engine, alternator, filling stand and 70-foot hose reel with bulk suction and discharge hoses. It is fully functional, mounted or dismounted, and is air transportable and ground transportable when full, partially full or empty, and is compatible with the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck-Load Handling System and the Palletized Load System.

In conjunction with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry, Soldiers from Company A also conducted a tactical troop movement by truck that utilized the Raven unmanned aerial vehicle system to provide forward reconnaissance along the movement route.

Maintainers from Company B conducted 66 equipment services, 75 equipment repairs and conducted three recovery mission and six contact missions.

Medical personnel Company C serviced 250 sick calls and supported 16 training events with medical support. They also conducted Emergency Medical Technician refresher training using the standard for the Expert Field Medical Badge which resulted in 55 Continuing Education Units. More than 20 medics practiced for the EFMB by conducting the lanes training in addition to the written test, ruck march and land navigation tasks.

All total, nearly 300 Soldiers in the 429th conducted a variety of support operations and training including driving more than 36,000 miles and conducting 57 support missions. At the same time they were supporting the entire brigade, they were also able to qualify 27 Soldiers on the M4 to attain a 99 percent qualification rate for the year. At their driver training academy, 20 Soldiers were licensed on the Humvee and Light Medium Tactical Vehicle and four on the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. They were also able to qualify 56 Soldiers as Combat Lifesavers, raising the battalion’s total to 28 percent. The battalion’s food service personnel used the Containerized Kitchen to prepare more than 3,500 meals for Soldiers in the 429th, providing them with hot breakfast and dinner each day of annual training.

429th BSB Soldiers continue fuel transport to Fort Pickett
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429th BSB food service Soldiers prepare hot meals during AT
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429th BSB mechanics conduct field maintenance operations
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429th BSB Soldiers use new system to deliver water
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429th BSB medics conduct EMT recertification training
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