News: A CO, 626 BSB delivers for all Rakkasans
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Kerensa Hardy
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq – "Nothing happens until something moves," is the Albert Einstein quote adopted by the Transportation Corps.
The Soldiers of Company A, 626th Brigade Support Battalion, takes that mantra to heart as they push supplies throughout southwest Baghdad to the units in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
"Our company's mission has a tremendous impact on the BCT's overall mission and greatly contributes to the fight all over the operational environment," said Capt. Thomas Boland, Co. A, 626th BSB commander.
Comprised of two distribution platoons and a Supply Support Activity platoon, Co. A is a distribution company tasked with supplying Rakkasans on and off Camp Striker with basic necessities like food, water and ammunition.
The two distribution platoons run combat logistics patrols several times a week to outlying patrol bases. The Soldiers in the SSA platoon run the warehouse and headquarters platoon is in charge of the command post.
From paper and pens to nails and lumber, from fuel to repair parts, rations and bulk water for showers and cooking, Co. A handles it all. Boland said anything pertaining to sustaining the BCT, Co. A Soldiers are involved in some way.
"Everything starts at Alpha Company," said 2nd Lt. Brendan Chase, platoon leader for 1st Platoon, Co. A, 626th BSB. "We're pretty much the supply house for the whole brigade and then we push it out to the forward support companies."
As part of one of the distribution platoons, Chase said although his platoon has other missions, CLPs are about 85 to 90 percent of what they do.
"We're either getting ready for a CLP, doing a CLP or recovering from a CLP," he said. He explained that it can take up to about 30 hours to prepare for a CLP, including the time it takes to perform maintenance on and inspect the vehicles and load the supplies that will go out in the convoy.
Every Soldier in the company understands that his job is equally as important as combat arms troops.
"If we don't do our job then someone on the other end won't be able to do his job," said Sgt. 1st Class King Riggins, platoon sergeant, 1st Platoon, Co. A, 626th BSB. "They won't have the supplies they need to perform."
The company's senior-enlisted Soldier said the unit was well-prepared for its deployed mission. "I think we did all the right things," said 1st Sgt. Loneal Blevins, Co. A, 626th BSB first sergeant. "Everything we trained on back home got the unit in the ball park of what was to be expected in theater."
Boland credits the unit's gifted and "battlefield-tested" non-commissioned officers with doing an outstanding job giving the Soldiers what they needed pre-deployment to feel confident once they got on the ground.
"My job is dangerous," said Pvt. Ryan Henry, a mechanic who serves as a gunner. "But as long as you know what to do when situations come about, it's no problem." He said he tries not to worry about the potential threats, but just focuses on the mission at hand.
Henry added that the training at Fort Campbell, Ky., equipped him for what he faces on the roads when he goes outside the wire.
"I just go out there and do the best that I can as a gunner and hope that I come back home safe," Henry said.
Crane said the Soldiers are well aware of the risks they face every time they go out on a CLP – namely, improvised explosive devices – but that they remain cool about it.
"Obviously we know what's out there," Chase said, adding that when the brigade suffered the first casualty, Nov. 1, as the result of an IED it was a reality check. "It struck them that ... this could really happen.
"We're outside the wire (several) times a week," he explained. "It's a threat every time we step out there, but these guys? They soldier on."
The platoon sergeant echoed Crane's sentiments.
"The Soldiers motivate us because, no matter how hard we push them, they're ready to ride on," Riggins said. "The Soldiers love doing their job, which makes our job extremely easy.
"I think we've been truly blessed with some great Soldiers."