News: Sustainer convoy relocates Stryker vehicles
Story by Spc. Michael Camacho
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq — As the drawdown of U.S. military forces in Iraq continues, the 2025th Heavy Equipment Transportation Company plays a key role in the consolidation of those forces.
During the course of nearly a week, the 2025th HET Company relocated roughly 150 Stryker vehicles belonging to 1st Battalion, 25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, from Contingency Operating Location Warhorse to Joint Base Balad.
The heavy equipment transport is a tractor and semi-trailer system designed for the movement and transportation of large vehicles. It is capable of carrying payloads of up to 70 tons.
The HET system is composed of two components, the tractor and semi-trailer. The tractor is equipped with front and rear-axle steering. The semi-trailer's axles make it possible for the trailer to turn in unison with the tractor, making tight turns possible.
The 2025th, originally a light and medium vehicle transportation company, was converted to a HET company prior to its deployment.
"We went through HET training back in the states and qualified on the [HET systems], but really we're getting most our experience in country," said Sgt. 1st Class Wendell Thompson, the 2025th HET Company, 2nd platoon sergeant.
The 2025th, along with 32 of their HET systems, security escorts and additional support vehicles, left Speicher heading toward Warhorse.
Thompson said the convoy made a routine stop at JBB, where the Soldiers conducted preventive maintenance checks and services, inspecting the vehicles before continuing to Warhorse.
These checks are important elements in the prevention and mitigation of blown-out tires and vehicle malfunctions on the road, said Thompson, a native of Jacksonville, Ala.
After leaving JBB, the convoy faced the obstacle of crossing a pontoon bridge across the Tigris River. The HET systems are wide and had roughly eight inches of space on either side while crossing the bridge, said Maj. Earnest Hearn, commander of the 2025th. It was a challenge for several of the less experienced drivers, but something they were able to overcome, he said.
Once at Warhorse, the Soldiers inspected their vehicles again and performed necessary maintenance, said Thompson. The Strykers were then loaded onto the HET trailers and the convoy returned to JBB.
The convoy repeated this process five times, unloading the Strykers at JBB, he said.
Thompson said the drivers became more accustomed to the road and even crossing the bridge with each trip.
Hearn said this is the largest mission the unit has conducted since arriving in theater. He said it tested their skills and abilities as transporters.
"They have proven themselves to be very versatile and determined to prove themselves as capable drivers," said Hearn.