News: Wagonmasters land in the sands of Kuwait
Story by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain
CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT — Three weeks after casing their colors at Fort Hood, Texas, roughly 400 Soldiers from the Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), arrived at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 10 and 11 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-11.
The Soldiers are scheduled to conduct their final round of predeployment training before moving north into Iraq, said Lt. Col. Paula Lodi, the battalion commander.
Lodi said the unit took advantage of two types of training in Kuwait — mandatory and focused.
Mandatory training included a weapons test fire, close quarters marksmanship, vehicle rollover training and counter-improvised explosive device training, Lodi said.
"Mandatory training makes up the core foundation of our mission," she said.
Focused training is more specific, consisting of classes on counterinsurgency, staff enabler training and medical training for the medics.
Lodi said the training gives Soldiers an opportunity to "get their heads in the game" and focus on the mission, without the distractions of home.
The training in Kuwait also gives Soldiers time to adjust to the heat, with daily temperatures over 100 degrees.
"We've tried to stress hygiene, nutrition and physical endurance as ways to push Soldiers and get them to understand that they can survive in this heat," Lodi said.
For one Soldier, the heat did not live up to the pre-deployment hype.
Spc. Latchmi Mooteram, a supply clerk with the brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company, was told by her peers Kuwait would be extremely hot.
"It's a lot like Texas," said Mooteram, a New York native.
Mooteram said her favorite part of the training was close quarters marksmanship—training in which Soldiers engage targets in all directions, while both standing still and moving.
"It was fun, and a little bit scary," she said.
Aside from the training, Mooteram said she struggled to adjust to the time difference — Kuwait is eight hours ahead of Texas — and missed some of the comforts of home.
"I miss home cooked food and civilian clothes," she said.
With the unit's time in Kuwait winding down, Mooteram said she wants to complete the training in Kuwait and move north to Iraq.
"I'm excited," she said. "I just want to go there, get settled and do my job."