News: 151st assumes control of route clearance operations from its sister company
Story by Jessica Jackson
ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The 151st Engineer Company assumed control of route clearance operations in Zabul province, Afghanistan, from the 883rd Route Clearance Company during a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Lagman, Aug. 23.
Eagerly taking his place in front of his company, U.S. Army Capt. Thomas Grabos, 151st En. Company commander, signified the TOA is complete and route clearance operations are now the responsibility of the 151st.
“My guys have been geared up for this since before we were alerted that potentially this would be our mission,” said Grabos. “We are excited and ready to take on the challenge.”
The relief in place is a long standing tradition between units of the United States Armed Forces who, while deployed, transfer authority of their line units and area of operation to the newly-arrived units in theatre.
“The past two weeks have been very informative; learning tactics and understanding the overall battlefield and getting a good assessment of our possible situations,” said Grabos. “There was a lot we were able to absorb immediately; things you can’t really teach back home, and you can’t really put it all together until you get here and see it.”
According to U.S. Army Spc. Ryan Rawlins, a recovery truck driver, “The RIP process has gone pretty good. The 883rd has really shown us the ropes.”
The RIP process takes several weeks. This ensures the change of authority between the outgoing and incoming units is done smoothly. However, since the 151st and the 883rd belong to the same battalion back home, this made the course of their transition easier than most.
“We’re all in the same battalion, some of my guys deployed with [McVeigh], so we had strong bonds already,” said Grabos. “There are a lot of friendships here. Guys come from the same town or went to the same school. You genuinely care about the other person, not just soldier to soldier, but because there are real friendships there.”
As the 151st settles into its own battle rhythm, its soldiers expressed they plan to use the standards left by the 883rd as a guiding principle.
“I have complete confidence in the 151st,” said U.S. Army Capt. James McVeigh, 883rd En. Company commander. “I suggest they follow the same TTPs we’ve empalced and I believe they’ll be successful.”
“We will continue on with what the 883rd has set in place. We have to continue to improve our foxhole,” Grabos said. “I have to utmost confidence in them. These guys know what they’re doing. They’re going to do it well.”