News: Indiana National Guard troops prepare for deployment: 1438th Transportation Co. conducts pre-mobilization training at Camp Atterbury
Story by Ashley Roy
EDINBURGH, Ind. - The world depends on a steady supply of food, clothes and goods to function smoothly, and people need reliable transportation to travel day to day. It only seems to follow that the military world functions the same. Soldiers need supplies and transportation to complete their mission, and issues with deliveries and travel could be disastrous, especially overseas.
To meet these needs, 128 soldiers with the Indiana Army National Guard’s 1438th Transportation Company are currently training at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in Edinburgh, Ind., in preparation for their upcoming deployment to the Kabul province of Afghanistan.
While deployed, the 1438th Trans. Company will be tasked with convoy operations and security for supplies and personnel being transported in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The company arrived at Atterbury on Nov. 30, to begin two weeks of pre-mobilization training focusing on mission-specific exercises.
“We try to set up as realistic a setting as possible in order to give the soldiers the best training. We come up with a mission, the soldiers execute it and we talk about how they did afterwards,” said Staff Sgt. Emily Boner, a tactical operations non-commissioned officer with the 1438th.
In addition to learning all tasks associated with convoy operations, soldiers are also exposed to warrior tasks, combat lifesaver training and communication operations.
“You need to be able to drive a truck. You need to be able to talk on the radio. You need to be able to work as a team, as well as be part of a larger picture. A convoy is really a long sequence of little teams that have to work together to get one mission done,” said Boner.
Boner, who has served with the 1438th for almost 11 years and two deployments, says shehas seen a huge increase in training proficiency here at Atterbury.
“First deployment, training was just driving around without anybody shooting at you and now look at what we have. We have pretend IEDs that teach you how to react to contact. The training is much more realistic and relevant. Atterbury always really helps us out when it comes to training,” said Boner.
During training the 1438th has been able to conduct realistic convoy missions simulating improvised explosive device attacks, enemy engagement and even a flat tire on a military vehicle.
The training has helped the company become a team and made them more cohesive.
“I feel we have a good mix of those who have deployed and those who haven’t, and we try to share our experiences with those who haven’t and those younger soldiers to get them ready for what’s to come.”
While there is a mix of experience levels, even those who are deploying for the first time are confident in the training they are receiving and the mission they have ahead of them.
“Our training has been bar none the best training I’ve had since I’ve been in. Our leadership is excellent; people out here are doing a great job taking care of us, getting the training we need. I have every confidence in this unit,” said Private Edward Cronin, a driver with the 1438th.
Deploying along with Cronin is Specialist Jesse Harris, a gunner with the 1438th who served on a previous deployment with the company.
Although deployments often come with bittersweet feelings as soldiers prepare to leave behind families and friends, both Cronin and Harris agree that the camaraderie with your fellow soldiers can help to alleviate some of those feelings. Harris had never met Cronin prior to training, but now they are “tight”.
“I can say from my previous deployment, when you deploy with someone it’s like a bond. You see that same person you deployed with as like your brother or your sister, they become family,” said Harris.
“The training has brought us [the 1438th] together more than I would have ever expected,” said Cronin.
The 1438th will continue training at Atterbury until Dec. 17, and then head to Fort Hood, Texas, for four months before beginning their nine month deployment to Afghanistan.
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