CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq — An asset recovery team with the 632nd Maintenance Company, 110th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) is assigned to run convoy recovery missions in southern Iraq to support the responsible drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq.
“There are many assets coming from the north, headed south, due to the drawdown,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Clavette, motor pool non-commissioned officer-in-charge with the 632nd Maint. Co. and a Madawaska, Maine, native. “We are seeing an increase in logistic patrols. Not leaving (U.S.) assets on the road is an important part of the drawdown.”
Clavette and his team had to perform maintenance on the tow vehicles, now more than 30 years old, to ensure they were ready for the mission. A reliable recovery mission requires reliable recovery assets.
“A lot of these vehicles are pretty old,” Clavette said. “They’ve been here for a while.”
The soldiers on the recovery team check the vehicles to determine if any deficiencies need to be corrected. If anything is broken, parts are ordered and then installed by the team so they can complete their mission., said Sgt. Larry Beasley, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic, with the 632nd Maint. Co. and a Mount Sterling, Ohio, native.
The recovery team’s mission begins once a call is received informing of a broken down vehicle. The NCOIC assesses the situation to determine whether or not the team can fix the piece of equipment. If the team can fix the vehicle, the goal is to complete the repair within 20 minutes. If the vehicle cannot be repaired within that time frame, they tow it to a more secure location, with more assets, to repair the vehicle.
“The point of a recovery team is to ensure we do not leave any of our assets,” Clavette said.
The team also spends time physically preparing for the mission.
“Once we get the mission started, the team has to be able to do it with their protective gear on,” Clavette said. “It is a big difference between doing recovery in a duty uniform and doing it in ‘full battle rattle’.”
Clavette said he has confidence that his team can perform the mission without a problem.
Many of the soldiers on the recovery team are veterans of other deployments and offer their experience for a successful mission.
Beasley said he likes the change of pace that the recovery mission provides.
“In my prior deployments, I have done a lot of mounted patrols and a lot of dismounted patrols,” he said. “Here, every day is a different job. We work on a different truck every day and now we get to recover different vehicles.”
Clavette said because of the variety of vehicles they work on, the maintenance soldiers have to be well-trained in the recovery of those assets. The recovery team is responsible for getting soldiers out of harm’s way as fast as possible.
“They understand that if they do not get to the broken down vehicle in a reasonable amount of time, it could be their life,” he said.