429th BSB Soldiers exercise sustainment capabilities during drill weekend

Soldiers from Charlottesville--based Company C, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team transport a patient with simulated injuries during a casualty evacuation and evaluation exercise April 6, 2013, during drill weekend at Fort Pickett.  (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers from Charlottesville–based Company C, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team transport a patient with simulated injuries during a casualty evacuation and evaluation exercise April 6, 2013, during drill weekend at Fort Pickett. (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 focused their drill weekend training effort on squad and section mission essential tasks at Fort Pickett April 5-7, 2013. After spending a training year focusing on individual tasks, the units in the battalion are now pulling those skills together into the collective tasks needed to provide sustainment support to the entire brigade during annual training in June.

“We spend much of our time during AT with the balancing act of supporting at the same time we are training,” said Lt. Col. Billy Tucker, commander of the 429th. “These training lanes give commanders the opportunity to look at their Soldiers and their sections in a tactical training lane and make sure they are proficient in their essential tasks.”

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 battalion 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.

Soldiers from the South Boston-based Company A, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team assemble a Fuel System Supply Point April 6, 2013, at Fort Pickett. (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 assemble a Fuel System Supply Point April 6, 2013, at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers from Company A assembled a Fuel System Supply Point during the drill weekend in addition to conducting driver training on the trucks used to haul supplies to units in the field. The FSSP consists of six 20,000 gallon fuel bags with various size distribution and suction hoses. The engineer section of the Fort Pickett Department of Public Works constructed the containment berms during their March drill weekend, and Soldiers from Company A added the necessary liners, fuel bags and other assorted accessories to complete the FSSP during April drill. The Fort Pickett DPW and Environmental Section acquired between 100,000 and 150,000 gallons of leftover diesel fuel at no cost from the old Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and Soldiers from Company A will haul the fuel during their annual training in June. The estimated savings from the acquired fuel for Fort Pickett is approximately $500,000.

In the water and mud of Fort Pickett, Soldiers from the Company B trained on vehicle recovery operations. After purposely miring a Humvee in deep water and mud, Soldiers from company’s recovery section employed different techniques to free the vehicle and get it back on the road. The training provided an opportunity for more senior members of the section to share their knowledge and experience with new Soldiers.

“This is refresher training for our more experienced Soldiers and an opportunity for new Soldiers to get hands on training,” explained Capt. Eric Quinn, commander of Company B. In addition to the recovery training, Quinn said that Soldiers in the company worked on a wide variety of tasks including the armament section conducting weapons services, the electronics section working on military GPS equipment and mechanics conducting vehicle and generator services. The unit also simulated recovering a Humvee to their field maintenance tent and working through all the steps to evaluate damage and produce a cost estimate for parts and labor.

Soldiers from Company C tested their response capabilities during a casualty evacuation and evaluation exercise that simulated line unit medics treating causalities at point of injury and sending a medical evacuation request by radio, then transferring causalities at an ambulance exchange point to the company’s evacuation platoon. From there, the evacuation platoon transports patients to an aide station operated by medics from Company C where patients are stabilized, treated and evaluated for care needed as a result of their injuries. The company also simulated providing daily sick call support for routine medical needs for Soldiers in the brigade.

“We have definitely shown a lot of improvement and the medics have really impressed me with what they are able to do and learn,” said Capt. Leanne Masserini, commander of Company C. She said the Soldiers took advantage of the opportunities to learn from the doctor and nurses in the company and also demonstrated effective communication through the entire process of evacuating the casualty through providing treatment at the aid station.

The busy drill weekend proved to be successful in providing the units an opportunity to put months of planning and rehearsals into action in a field environment and prepare for annual training.

“They met my intent to go out and train in the woods and focus on mission essential tasks,” Tucker said as he evaluated the battalion’s training effort. “I saw motivated Soldiers and motivated commanders who were able to see the plan they put together 90 days ago put into action and now have a strong foundation to build on.”

Soldiers from the Richmond-based Company B, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare a Humvee for recovery April 6, 2013, at Fort Pickett.  (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the Richmond-based Company B, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare a Humvee for recovery April 6, 2013, at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

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Photos: 429th BSB Soldiers train on recovery operations
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157633190044286/

Photos: Medics from 429th BSB test response capabilities
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157633205116914/

Photos: 429th BSB fuel handlers assembly supply point at Fort Pickett
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157633204376211/