Logistics Soldiers stretch their skills in ground, air exercises
Soldiers conducted ground and air resupply training missions to ensure they could "Fight Tonight" in South Korea - with written exams and other challenges during various exercises in July and August.
Soldiers from the Forward Support Company H, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted the training events to prepare them to provide agile and multifunctional logistics support to the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank and M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle maneuver battalion.
With demanding day-to-day missions, setting aside time for training can be challenging for logistics units. While the line companies are planning their next training event, support platoons are preserving readiness with day-to-day "Class III POL," petroleum, oil and lubricants operations, "Class V," ammunition, draws and turn-in, and transporting other classes of supply and equipment.
That's why being able to conduct the recent training events was so imperative to remain prepared to sustain the force forward and maintain unit readiness.
The first event Soldiers conducted, the "Distro Validation," focused on ground resupply operations. This was a two-day training event July 27-28 at Camp Hovey, South Korea. Soldiers completed a written exam based on military occupational specialty, one for the motor transport operators and ammunition specialists, and one for the petroleum supply specialists.
Each exam included general questions pertaining to MOS-specific knowledge, as well as questions concerning unit logistics package operations in general. A logistics package is a grouping of multiple classes of supply and supply vehicles under the control of a single convoy commander. Daily LOGPACs contain a standardized allocation of supplies. Special LOGPACs can also be dispatched as needed. Implementing a unit logistics package includes environmental considerations.
On the second day of testing, Soldiers were split into three teams. Each team consisted of a convoy commander, assistant convoy commander, fuel team, ammunitions team, and general supply team. These three teams were given an operations order issued by their platoon leader, and then expected to execute a day and night logistical resupply operation to a tank platoon.
Each team was allotted two hours to receive the mission, issue the convoy commander's order, load vehicles, conduct tactical convoy, and execute the resupply mission. Convoy commanders and assistant convoy commanders were all sergeants, many of whom had never lead a convoy or given a convoy brief. The noncommissioned officers were graded on execution of their convoy brief and mission execution.
The three section sergeants, who are usually responsible for the execution of missions, were used as evaluators during the training exercise. This allowed them to see where their junior NCOs and troopers needed more development and training.
"Overall the platoon validation was a great starting point to build further training off of," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Allsbrook. "The NCOs took their mission and ran with it, allowing junior NCOs the opportunity to make the decision on how the convoy moved and allowed me to step back and see where some of my NCO's need more mentoring. The 'AARs,' after action reviews, at the end of each run provided good constructive criticism, and we were able to see teams capitalize on mistakes and improve with each run."
The distribution platoon was also afforded the opportunity to train and perform sling load operations, a skill that is not often utilized in armored brigade combat teams.
"We have very little experience with sling load operations, it's not a method of resupply that we normally use," said Staff Sgt. Yu-Wei Tsai, ammunition section sergeant, FSC H, 2nd Bn., 5th Cav. Reg. "A huge part of our success in training can be attributed to getting two personnel certified at a Sling Load Inspector Certification Course at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, and one air assault qualified here at Camp Casey."
In a sling load mission, ground crew training and performance determine the success of the mission. The Distribution Platoon, with some guidance from 2nd Lt. Shayne Francois from Co. A, 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, spent weeks practicing hand-and-arm signals, proper rigging procedures, and utilizing the cranes in the maintenance bay to practice hooking-up to the bird, and safe entry and exiting to and from vehicles being rigged.
During a recent weeklong 2nd Infantry Division Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear response exercise, the platoon executed sling load operations Aug. 11 at Camp Humphreys by rigging and hooking up a humvee, a M200A1 trailer-mounted generator unit, two M149A2 "water buffalos," and cargo nets full of various classes of supply to rotary wing aircraft. The slung items traveled a distance of about 115 km north to Rodriguez Live Fire Complex near Pocheon, South Korea.