CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq – Soldiers with A Battery, Regimental Fires Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) executed a recovery mission just north of Mosul, Iraq, April 14.
Recovery missions, or retrieving immobile vehicles, come at a moment's notice, so Soldiers are on call 24 hours a day to perform them.
Sgt. James West, a truck commander with A Battery, RFS, 278th ACR and a Trenton, Ga., native, said the April 14 mission was to retrieve a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle with a broken transmission.
"We went out, set up 360 degree security, dismounted for [KBR, Inc.] and they recovered the vehicle rather quickly without any problems," he said.
West said it is typical to go on a recovery mission with four military and two KBR vehicles.
"The mission went very smoothly and we got there in about a half hour," he said.
West said it usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes to get off base once they reach the Movement Control Team yard, which is the starting point for the convoys.
"We have to link up with KBR and get their manifest of personnel and combine it with ours, which is what takes most of the time," he said.
Missions usually average three hours from start to finish, and West said all six of the missions he has been on went smoothly.
Spc. William Hayes, a gunner with A Battery, RFS, 278th ACR and a Pigeon Forge, Tenn., native, said the team always reacts quickly during these missions and makes good time.
"From the time we got the call … we made it to the pickup point in an hour and ten minutes," he said.
Hayes said it is important to keep the KBR employees safe when they are recovering the vehicles.
"We give them a green area and make sure nothing happens," he said.
After the vehicle was recovered, a group of military police joined their convoy and helped them push through the city, Hayes said.
"Some of these vehicles are big, so when we came to a bridge, some Soldiers dismounted to make sure they had clearance," he said.
Sometimes they do not go out on many missions during the week, but when they do, Hayes said he enjoys going out into the city.
"I usually roll through at night, and this was my first mission during the day," he said.
Hayes said it is quiet at night, with little traffic on the streets, but during the day it is busy, with a lot of civilian traffic and pedestrians.
"We have to really be on our toes during the day time and not get complacent," he said. "We know that something can happen at any time out there, and we will be ready and safe."