News: Teams battle for bragging rights at truck rodeo
KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – The 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion hosted their first truck rodeo June 11-14 here to allow Soldiers the opportunity to showcase their expertise in skills that are vital to the unit’s mission in healthy competition with other similar experts.
The tasks that were evaluated are critical skills that drivers must be able to perform in order to be subject matter experts in their field.
What made this rodeo differ from others were the various platforms that Soldiers were tested on. Participants were tasked to operate five different vehicles; heavy equipment transporter, line-haul tractor truck, palletized load system and two variants of the mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle.
Day one began with Sgt. 1st Class Royal Hepburn, 498th Transportation Company assistant truck master, giving a safety brief and going over the standards of the events and scoring criteria.
“The Soldiers were very enthusiastic to begin the competition,” said Hepburn. “We really got to see the best of the best out here.”
The 26 teams composed of two Soldiers each competed for first place in the PLS event by backing up the vehicle through a lane 12 feet wide and 100 meters long. A team from the 1742nd TC came out on top in this event.
“Although I did not compete in all the events, it was cool to see one of my recently promoted battle buddies take charge and win the PLS event” said Sgt. Reed Ludwig, assistant convoy commander assigned to the 1742nd TC, a native of Chamberlain, South Dakota. “We are both coming up in the ranks and we keep the competitive spirit among us alive.”
One task during the MRAP recovery vehicle event showcased the Soldier’s boom-operating skills. The teams were required to position a five-gallon water can between two rows of water bottles, solely with hand and arm signals from their ground guide.
“[Ludwig] knows that truck up and down so I trusted everything he told me to do was right,” said Spc. Damian Anderson, a driver assigned to the 1742nd Transportation Company, native of Fargo, North Dakota. “It was Sgt. Ludwig’s knowledge and guidance that made a difference. We just worked amazingly together.”
HET serpentine was also no easy task when you add on the trailer for an overall length of approximately 68 feet and a width of 12 feet. The Soldiers faced the challenge of driving between cones placed 20 meters apart for a distance of 240 meters.
By the end of the fourth day, the scores from each event were totaled making the 1176th Transportation Company the overall winners of the truck rodeo.
Lt. Col Edward Ivey, 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion commander, presented the 1176th TC company commander, Capt. Daniel Isley, with the first place award.
“I am so proud of the Soldiers for bringing first place back home,” said Isley. “This was an excellent way to build esprit de corps among the units under 142nd CSSB.”