News: Stepping up and moving out
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — On May 25, the "Hook and Book" Soldiers of the 1161st Transportation Company, a Washington National Guard unit out of Ephrata, Wash., arrived in theatre as part of the 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade team.
The 1161st, a Palletized Loading System vehicle company, received a new assignment upon their arrival to the 10th SBDE. The unit accepted the challenge to step away from their PLS vehicles and transition to using the M915 tractor trailers to haul loads within the battle space. The unit took this change and has done outstanding thus far. The unit has over eight destinations of which they travel, including Victory Base Camp, Joint Base Balad, Camp Adder, Camp Kalsu, Camp Cedar, and many others.
In the unit's first 60 days, the unit conducted over 70 missions and traveled over 40,000 miles. The unit sustained no accidents during these missions; this is a great achievement. The 1161st Company Commander, Cpt. Leslie Jines Jr., a native of Selah, Wash., said, "Mission completion and safety of all Soldiers is my main goal for the 1161st during this deployment. One hundred percent of the unit will be Combat Lifesaver qualified and physically fit." In addition, 1st Sgt. David Luther, the company first sergeant and resident of West Richland, Wash., is currently in his second deployment with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Luther said," Building the team and mission accomplishment is my personal mission statement to my Soldiers."
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Fisher, a native of Kirkland, Wash., is the unit's truckmaster and is currently in his second deployment with the 1161st. He is in charge of ensuring all loads are checked and secured for each and every convoy that leaves the 1161st motor pool. However, this is only a small part of Fisher's large responsibility. Fisher is also involved in mission preparation, monitoring missions while they are on the roads, and most importantly, Fisher ensures all hard times are met to keep the unit running on schedule. Fisher said, "Basically, anything that involves our trucks and Soldiers, comes through me."