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    Tanks on a plane

    Tanks on a plane

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Richard Wrigley | Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment “Desert Rogues,” 2nd Armored...... read more read more

    FORT STEWART, Ga. -- Have you ever flown a tank? Have you ever seen one fly?

    The Soldiers of Company B, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment “Desert Rogues,” 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, never had before. Reportedly, neither had the Airmen who were present from the 315th Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.

    Nevertheless, that is just what happened as the Airman assisted the Desert Rogues in conducting an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise at Hunter Army Airfield, Sept. 22-26.

    The EDRE is an exercise designed to force a unit to put into practice all the steps they would actually have to go through if the unit were to be ordered to deploy on short notice.

    “From the initial alert, where the Soldier comes in with all his deployment-necessary items, to kissing your kids goodbye … all the way to the fun stuff like actually loading a tank on an airplane and then getting on the plane yourself and taking off, the EDRE puts a unit through the whole process,” explained 1st Lt. David Fowler, the executive officer for B Co., 1-64th AR.

    While demanding, it’s a different type of training than the Desert Rogues have experienced lately.

    “It was good training, no one here had done this before, and it was a good change of pace from shooting gunnery to come out to an airfield and work with a different branch of the military,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Weigand, a Bradley commander for the Desert Rogues.

    The Airmen proved to be an instrumental asset to the operation, assisting the Rogues in any way they could.

    “It was a great experience working with [the 315th Airlift Wing],” said Fowler. “[The crew’s] passion for their job coupled with their seemingly limitless knowledge base and technical skill was indescribably valuable to us.”

    Another valuable aspect to the training was the EDRE’s propensity to test the unit’s true capability to deploy, as no part of the mobilization process was notional.

    “The EDRE has forced us to see ourselves, and our readiness level, as clearly as possible,” said Fowler. “With EDRE, there is no hiding behind any kind of façade of being ready, either you are or you aren’t, and everyone gets to see the outcome.”

    The EDRE also provided valuable insight to others as it allowed for those who hadn’t deployed before to understand why they do much of what they do on a regular basis in order to stay ready.

    “Now even our most junior Soldier knows why we have supply inspections, and arms room inspections; they understand why we have ‘Maintenance Mondays,'” Fowler explained. “They now know that they need to be ready all the time because tomorrow they could be flying with this equipment, and if it is not cleaned and maintained they could be showing up to a fight with broken equipment.”

    In the end, everyone involved seemed impressed with the training itself as well as the Rogues ability to meet the demands that the EDRE places on a unit. It also seemed like it had the affect of putting everyone on the same page.

    “We’re ready to go,” said Weigand. “This helped us a lot, and now we know we can deploy quickly if we have to.”

    “Yea, we are absolutely ready to go,” said Fowler.



    Date Taken: 09.24.2014
    Date Posted: 12.10.2014 15:10
    Story ID: 149990
    Location: FORT STEWART, GA, US 

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