By: Capt. Mark Canary
SHINDAND AIR BASE, Afghanistan – The 418th Transportation Company, “Road Knights," 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, sets the bar for its sister elements to emulate by becoming the first multicomposition truck company in the 87th CSSB.
Prior to their training the “Road Knights” were primarily a Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) and Palletized Load System (PLS) unit. The drawdown deadlines set by Congress increased the need for versatile sustainment support units equipped to handle the high demand of retrograde missions in Afghanistan.
The 418th TC met these goals by training for months before and during their deployment, investing time in developing its soldiers into a well-disciplined logistics element capable of conducting retrograde operations via multiple means of logistics transportation.
The tactical training took the form of two National Training Center rotations, a field-training exercise, and extensive training on multicompositional missions while in Afghanistan.
Capt. Mark W. Canary, commander of the 418th TC, explained how imperative this modification, to their unit’s capabilities, was to their mission.
“It is a unique mission set that provides supported commanders and units fluidity on the battle field, meeting requirements without a lag in capabilities,” said Canary. “It is the only way we can ensure mission accomplishment regardless of external support.”
The company’s newly acquired fleet as a multi-compositional truck company included (HET), (PLS), mine resistant ambush protected and the rough terrain cargo handler, vehicles.
These new abilities and equipment positively affected the way transportation logistics operations were performed as the “Road Knights” have not only exceeded their mission requirements but continue to excel as they conduct combat logistics operations in Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Lance Curtis, commander of the 87th CSSB, and a native of Warrensburg, Mo., praised the 418th for their ingenuity.
“Theses soldiers, some operating in a capacity outside their primary military occupational specialty, added their expertise to the fight,” said Curtis.
The “Road Knights” played a vital role in Operation Enduring Freedom by permanently closing down six forward operating bases, becoming the premier transportation company in Regional Command West.