Va. Soldiers provide transportation support to Coast Guard, Navy

Soldiers from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company secure a target boat for transport from Norfolk to Fort Pickett Sept. 14, 2013. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company secure a target boat for transport from Norfolk to Fort Pickett Sept. 14, 2013. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

NORFOLK, Va. — Soldiers from the two transportation companies of the Gate City-based 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group provided support to the United States Coast Guard and United States Navy during the drill weekend Sept. 13 – 15, 2013, in Chesapeake and Norfolk. In addition to providing valuable assistance to their fellow services, the Soldiers gained valuable experience in mission planning and convoy operations as well as their time on the road behind the wheel.

“Both of these missions provided an excellent opportunity for the staff of the 1030th Transportation Battalion to plan and coordinate real-world missions that involved our sister services while providing our companies with valuable realistic training,” said Maj. Tim Pillion, commander of the 1030th. “During the past training year the companies of the 1030th provided transportation support to the Canadian Reserve Forces, United States Coast Guard, United States Navy, Hurricane Sandy Response on the Eastern Shore, and they also provided military police support to the Presidential Inauguration.”

The Martinsville-based 1173rd Transportation Company provided support to the United States Coast Guard’s Maritime Special Response Team in Chesapeake. The mission request developed after the MSRT observed the 1030th providing support to the Canadian Reserve Forces’ Operation Southbound Trooper and Southern Raider earlier this year, explained Pillion.

“The partnership provided the MSRT with much-needed transportation support and provides the Soldiers of the 1173rd with real-world transportation experience,” Pillion said.

The 1173rd utilized four vehicles with eight personnel to travel from Martinsville to USCG Annex in Chesapeake to transport one trailer loaded with pallets to the Coast Guard Annex in Bayonne, New Jersey. After delivering the pallets, the unit returned to Martinsville to complete the mission and travelled more than 4,400 total miles or about 1,100 miles per vehicle without accident or incident.

“It is a real-time mission and real-time training and not some simulation,” said Staff Sgt. Philip Wilkerson, training noncommissioned officer for the 1137rd. “This training is really worthwhile for our Soldiers.”

The 1032nd Transportation Company provided support to the United States Navy at Norfolk Naval Station. The mission developed through the partnership Fort Pickett maintains with various Navy elements who train on post, and the installation is a member of the Joint Atlantic Range Cooperative, Pillion said.

The 1032nd utilized 12 vehicles with 24 personnel to travel from Gate City to transport six unserviceable target boats from Norfolk to Range 13 at Fort Pickett. After delivering the target boats, the unit then returned to Gate City to complete the mission and traveled more than 10,800 total miles or about 900 miles per vehicle without accident or incident.

“This is really good training,” said 2nd Lt. Nicholas Tucker, a platoon leader in the 1032nd. “The Soldiers are getting great driver training, and we are also able to work on convoy operations. It allows them to be in real-world situations and dealing with whatever obstacles we encounter and overcoming them, and that will help us in the future. These real-world missions pay off, and you can see improvements in the way Soldiers operate and improvement in their confidence.”

Tucker explained that the convoy planning required them to make sure they selected a route that would be able to handle the trucks with their cargo, and they also had to prepare timelines for when to make fuel stops and checks along the way to make sure their loads were secure. The missions also allowed them to utilize different systems for voice and data communications.

“The Soldiers and leadership of the 1030th pride themselves on seeking out and accomplishing challenging missions and training opportunities,” Pillion said. “The 1030th maintains an excellent safety record and has incurred no significant accidents or injuries despite traversing thousands of miles.”

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