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    Pennsylvania Reservists bolster defenses overseas



    Story by Sgt. Rob Cooper 

    Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

    By Rob Cooper
    Crier staff writer

    CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. -- As Operation Iraqi Freedom continues its fourth year of efforts, many U.S. Army transportation units have been called to duty to help in keeping front line forces well supplied. One unit, the 298th Transportation Company, an Army Reserve unit from Franklin, Penn., returned home mid-September after a 12-month deployment in Iraq.

    While deployed to Forward Operating Base Q-West, the unit, which consisted of 169 Soldiers, was responsible for providing line haulage of multiple classes of freight. Maj. Joseph B. Corcoran III, the commander of the 298th, explained some of their accomplishments.

    "We did 200 missions covering 750,000 miles," Corcoran said. "Our mission was to provide line-haul support of everything from food, water, repair parts, fuel and medical supplies throughout Multi-national Division North."

    The unit's crowning achievement, Corcoran said, was a 22-day mission in support of Operation Arrowhead Ripper around the southern section of Multi-national Division North.

    "We provided all logistical support for the 25th Infantry Division to go into different towns and root out insurgents, as well as build up security measures for local populace," he said. "We continued to support the fighters in their efforts from moving from town to town while building up the nation. It was a very positive mission."

    The mission was successful in reinforcing security measures despite extremely dangerous situations along the way, said the unit's convoy commander during Operation Arrowhead Ripper, Sgt. John Gates.

    "During the mission, we hauled 1,200 T-walls, 887 Jersey barriers, and 400 Hesco barriers to help control Baquba," Gates said. "En route down there, we found an (explosive formed projectile) device and halted for 2 other (improvised explosive devices (IEDs)). Two of our scout vehicles were destroyed, but luckily no one was injured."

    "These are some of the finest Soldiers in the United States Army without a doubt," Corcoran added. "During that mission, these Soldiers essentially lived out of their trucks without complaint."

    Corcoran said that the deployment, which included Soldiers from five other units, demanded cohesion and camaraderie.

    "As a unit, I think we learned that even not being a true, organic unit," he said. "We came together prior to our deployment by looking out for each and leaning on each other's experience. Number one is the trust element; if you've got two guys riding down the road in a truck, you've got to trust that the other guy is going to do his job well and watch your back. Building that cohesive understanding comes down to a safety and security issue."

    Gates said that another reason for the unit's successful deployment was communication.

    "What kept us going was that every time we got home from a mission, we'd all get together and having AARs (after action reviews) and adjust our security off of that. When we got hit with those IEDs, there was some fear and animosity, but those meetings reassured the Soldiers and let them know that we were adjusting to those kinds of things. We would also have monthly meetings that would allow convoy commanders to express the concerns of what's been going on. It made it feel like we were one whole unit."



    Date Taken: 09.25.2007
    Date Posted: 09.25.2007 09:26
    Story ID: 12539
    Location: CAMP ATTERBURY, US 

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