News: 'Ready First' Soldiers work day, night to recover vehicles
Story by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
After working throughout the day, as fuelers, mechanics and welders, Soldiers with Recovery Platoon, Fox Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 'Ready First,' 1st Armored Division, out of Fort Bliss, Texas, lay down for the night and wait for the knock on the door, telling them to get their gear on and go recover a vehicle that has been disabled, in their area of operation around Kirkuk, Iraq.
The knock always comes at the most random time, said Cpl. Chester Watts, a Luling, Texas, native, and a Soldier with the recovery team.
After the knock, the clock starts ticking and we have about 15 minutes to get outside the wire, he continued.
Watts' platoon has a very important and difficult mission; they must go respond to a call in a short amount of time, assess the situation upon arrival and load the disabled vehicle, said 1st Sgt. David Rice, a Leslie, Mich., native and first sergeant of Fox Co.
The missions usually vary in complexity based on the situation, recovery can take 30 minutes or three days, said Sgt. Kevin Shepard, a Raleigh, N.C., native and heavy equipment operator non-commissioned officer in charge, as the rest of the platoon began to laugh.
The three-day thing is no joke, said Watts.
Recently these Soldiers were a part of what they call the biggest recovery mission ever.
"We got the knock late one night about two MRAP's (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) being stuck in the mud, we thought it would be a normal mission until two of our recovery vehicles got stuck," said Shepard.
At the end, after three days, a total of six vehicles getting stuck and running out of supplies we were on our way home, said Watts.
"It's funny now, but then not funny at all," said Pfc. Tyler Trimbach, a Dayton, Ohio, native and Bradley mechanic with the recovery team.
Even with the three-day missions, the team wouldn't have it any other way.
"We all enjoy being a part of recovery," said Spc. Hal Farmer, a fueler out of Shelbyville, Ind.
"It gets my blood pumping just driving these huge trucks down the small Iraqi roads," he continued.