Gate City-based transporters gain real-world experience during AT

Soldiers from the United States Property and Fiscal Office for Virginia load a shipping container on a trailer from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group, June 13 at Fort Pickett. Soldiers from the 1032nd transported a total of 27 containers more than 15,000 total miles to Letterkenney Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa., and back to Fort Pickett without any accidents or vehicle breakdowns. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers from the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group conducted a number of real-world line haul missions during the battalion’s annual training period from June 9 to 23. Using Fort Pickett as their base of operations, the Soldiers hauled shipping containers and other equipment over more than 23,000 miles of road without any accidents or vehicle breakdowns.

“When we were planning AT, we said let’s help the state out and get some real-world training,” said Lt. Col. Doyle Gillis, commander of the 1030th. “It gives our Soldiers real-world opportunities to go out to real-world places on real-world roads and pick up real-world loads. The Soldiers are making a difference, and they love it.”

The line haul missions also provided an opportunity to integrate the battalion’s transportation company and military police company. Soldiers for the Manassas-based 266th Military Police Company established traffic control points, conducted route reconnaissance and convoy security for all the missions.

The longest mission was the transport of 27 shipping containers June 14 and 15 from Fort Pickett to Letterkenney Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa. A total of 23 vehicles travelled more than 15,000 miles in a mission that saved the Virginia Guard the cost of having to ship the containers to Fort Hood where they would then have been shipped to Letterkenney.

Other line haul missions included transporting excess property from the readiness centers in West Point, Rocky Mount and Virginia Beach.

Not only did the missions provide excellent training for the drivers and convoy commanders, but the company and battalion staffs benefitted as well. Gillis said that one of the training objectives for the battalion was mission command at the battalion and company level, and the line haul missions provided excellent training for movement planning as well as testing voice and digital communications systems.

As part of the training scenarios, the battalion and companies had to establish their tactical operation centers in different types of locations from a fixed building with power and water to an austere building with no power or water as well as out in a field environment.

Capt. Clint Harris, the battalion’s training officer who served as the support operations officer during annual training, explained that unit leadership prepared concept of operation briefings, developed convoy movement plans, and then the convoy commander had to debrief the battalion commander and staff.

Another key training highlight for the battalion was the 1032nd competing June 18 in the regional level of the Philip A. Connelly Awards for Excellence in Army Food Service. The Connelly Competition is familiar territory for Soldiers of the 1032nd as they were national runners up last year in the field kitchen category and won the national award several years ago. The competition evaluates food service sections on a variety of areas including sanitation, food preparation and nutrition.

Gillis explained that this environment was different than past competitions because the Soldiers had been cooking in the field for eight days prior to the competition.

“In the past we have set up specifically to compete in the Connelly, but in this competition we had already been in the field,” he said.

Both the 266th and 1032nd also had the opportunity to conduct weapons qualifications at the individual and crew served level. “We fired every weapons system in the battalion during annual training,” Gillis said.

The MPs were also able to conduct live fire training at the Fort Pickett Urban Assault Course as well as blank fire training scenarios at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain site with more than 80 Soldiers executing training scenarios in both locations.

The annual training period provided an opportunity for many younger Soldiers to train on field living during the battalion’s eight days living out in the training areas. The real world missions also provided first-handleadership experience for young lieutenants and noncommissioned officers, Gillis said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green, the state senior enlisted leader, recognized one of the battalion’s Soldiers, Pfc. Timothy Wright, for his aggressive maintenance checks during the Letterkenney mission. Wright checked the tires of all the vehicles during every maintenance stop, and his attention to detail identified a problem with a tire that was corrected before the convoy returned to the road.

“I am extremely proud of all of them, from the battalion staff to the privates,” Gillis said. “Everyone performed extremely well in some fairly austere conditions, and the morale has been through the roof. It is a beautiful thing.”

View photos from the training on Flickr:

Gate City-based transporters conduct line haul mission during AT
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157630321924284/

Gate City-based transportation company competes in food service competition
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157630208662164/

Military police Soldiers conduct maneuver and live fire training
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157630178447648/

Chaplain teams serve up hot dogs and cold drinks
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157630177980806/

Virginia Guard Military Police train on military operations in urban terrain
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157630210940410/