CAMP PHOENIX, AFGHANISTAN
CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan - Guardsmen with the 1438th Transportation Company train their sister unit, the 1638th Transportation Company with the Indiana National Guard in preparation so they can take control of the mission of sustainment operations in the Kabul Base Cluster of Afghanistan.
The two units work together, one with nine months of real world operational experience in Kabul under their belts and the other eager to take on the momentous sustainment mission. The guardsmen with the 1438th take pride in the fact that they are well trained professionals and know all too well what the their sister unit is in for. The units have a close working relationship back at their home station, which makes it easier to better prepare their replacement for success.
“Some of the soldiers from the 1638th were members of the 1438th at one time and vice versa, so you can see why we have this close relationship with them, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian D. Cohen, incoming unit maintenance technician with the 1638th Transportation Company, 77th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Task Force Lifeliner in support of 1st Theater Sustainment Command (Theater).
“From what I have seen since my arrival our sister company has done a great job. The training that they’re providing us will be a valuable asset. They know their job very well and can give us good pointers so that we can be as successful as they are.”
The incoming soldiers spend time together sharing knowledge on a variety of subjects in the form of hands on instruction and briefs that cover topics, such as communication equipment, commander and convoy commander classes, LHS (load handling system), MRAPs (mine resistant ambushed protected), mine roller training and more. They also had the opportunity to spend much needed time together on the roads. This allowed for drivers to have adequate time to learn the terrain they will be traveling through.
“We’ve been working on these trucks the last nine months, so we can share any problems we had encountered when we first arrived and how we dealt with them,” said Master Sgt. Jayson L. Smith, outgoing truck master for the 1438th Transportation Company. “We have the knowledge and experience to share with the incoming unit on the issues that we had.”
Smith continued to describe some of the obstacles their unit went through early in their deployment, especially through the challenging narrow road systems.
“Some of the challenges we faced when we first arrived were maneuvering the larger trucks like the M916, which is a big tractor-trailer and the LHSs, which can be a double trailer.”
He added the ability to maneuver vehicles through entry control points was a challenge. It just took time and practice.
Smith, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., stated, “We used our skilled drivers first; then once the other drivers got confident that they could drive, we put them on smaller missions and then build them up to the longer missions.”
The leadership of both units came together to pick each other’s brains to ensure their troops were well trained and prepared to take on the 1438th’s mission.
Being trained wasn’t the only task these guardsmen were focused on, inventories had to be conducted.
“I am doing an inventory of the tools that they’re transferring over to me as part of the RIP TOA [relief in place, transfer of authority],” said Spc. Layne T. Mueller, a mechanic with the 1638th Trans. Company. “I want to make sure I have the proper tools to work on our vehicles, and also make sure they’re all accountable. If I don’t do this [inventory] correctly and tools are missing that is money coming out of my pocket.”
There are other areas of operations that play a vital role in their mission.
The support operations work with the National Afghan Trucking companies, which is vital for sustainment and retrograde operations within the KBC.
The NAT companies provide a service where they provide their trucks to come pick up cargo and move that from point A to point B, stated Sgt. Thomas D. Frazier, SPO transportation NAT noncommissioned officer in charge for the 1438th Transportation Company.
“They send their trucks here to Camp Phoenix and I coordinate that truck to get loaded and send it out or escort it to its destination, depending upon what the cargo is. I do that for the entire KBC and all the bases within it.”
He added that it is vitally important that his replacement Sgt. Roseberry understands the ins and outs of their very important role.
Frazier, a native of Shelbyville, Ind., emphasized, “The most important part that I’m trying to instill in him [Roseberry] is that he knows the paperwork end…most importantly I’ve got to teach him the personality that you have to have dealing with the local nationals.”
He continued to explain that there is a language barrier between the Afghans and coalition partners, and they must know basic interaction skills to meet mission requirements.
This sharing of knowledge will continue to prepare the 1638th Transportation Company as they get ready to take on the 1438th mission upon the Transfer of Authority.
“My troops have been great, they’ve learned a lot,” stated Master Sgt. Lowell S. Wagoner, a native of Monrovia, Ind., and a motor sergeant with the 1438th Transportation Company. “We came in inexperienced, we learned from the unit that was before us.
They’ve [1438th] learned a lot of ways to fix trucks and keep them going. Now it’s their [1638th] turn to take the time and learn everything they can from us.”
||CAMP PHOENIX, AF
||HOUSTON, TX, US
||INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US
||MONROVIA, IN, US
||MUNCIE, IN, US
||REMINGTON, IN, US
||SHELBYVILLE, IN, US
||WHEATFIELD, IN, US
This work, Training for success, by SGT Sinthia Rosario, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.