News: Commandos tackle logistical challenges
Story by Sgt. Mark A Moore II
WATERTOWN, N.Y. - Maj. James J. McDonnell and Maj. J. Ronald Novack, both logistical officers who deployed with the 10th Mountain Division (LI) during Operation Enduring Freedom IV, wrote that combat service support in Afghanistan provided Soldiers from 10th Forward Support Battalion with the fundamental challenges of facilitating long-term sustainment operations.
To accomplish the mission, they wrote, it was necessary to fine-tune tactics, techniques and procedures that would facilitate their long-term success in providing CSS.
They also wrote that the mountainous terrain and failing roadways would call for alternative delivery of supplies by air and convoy.
The 10th FSB concluded that the lessons learned in Afghanistan would play a key role for the 10th Mountain Division as it redeploys and reconstitutes as a unit of action.
Training on the necessary skill sets vital to the supply and support role in Afghanistan were logistical warriors from 210th BSB who divided into teams by companies and competed in the first Commandos Logistical Challenge held May 29-31.
“For logistical soldiers, this three-day event is comparative to the Expert Infantryman’s Badge testing for an infantryman or the Expert Field Medical Badge testing for a medic,” said Sgt. Aaron White, assigned to A Company and non-commissioned officer in charge of the sling-load event.
Teams conducted mounted day land navigation and convoyed to each training area, where they were evaluated on convoy operations and how they reacted to improvised explosive devises along the route.
After dismounting their vehicles, teams demonstrated knowledge in their military-specific jobs by setting up food service stations, welding metal, establishing satellite communications, troubleshooting and repairing weapons and troubleshooting generators. They also were tested on uniform standards and overall motivation.
“These challenges help you become a better soldier. You practice the tasks so much you become comfortable with them, you get good at it,” said Pvt. Luis A. Vargas, an automated logistical specialist assigned to A Company.
Regardless of whether these teams placed first or last, the lessons learned will be taken back to their respective companies and taught to Soldiers serving beside them, strengthening their overall mission readiness.
“The Commandos Logistical Challenge is a force multiplier,” said 1st Lt. Courtney Miller, executive officer from B Company and officer in charge of the sling-load event. “It can be viewed as a train-the- trainer scenario, and if capitalized upon, these companies who participated will have an increased edge on the battlefield.”
But in the end, this was a competition, and there can only be one overall winner for the 2012 Commandos’ Logistical Challenge. Earning this title was F Company.