YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. - Concealed by scrub brush and tall grass, opposition forces lie in wait for the postal platoon’s convoy to cross their path. After a loud report, the simulated roadside bomb released a puff of white dust and a small arms attack commenced from the opposition forces. The training took on a serious realism as the platoon from the 22nd Human Resource Company was spurred into action.
The 22nd HR Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 593rd Sustainment Brigade, traveled to Yakima Training Center, Wash., for a field training exercise, Aug. 21-27. The Soldiers from 22nd HR trained for and completed a convoy live-fire exercise while HHC provided the logistical support for the exercise allowing for practice and training for both units.
The deployed mission for the 22nd HRC consists of running postal operations, tracking soldiers movement into and out of theater, processing paperwork and handling any other HR issues. The unit will soon move from training to its upcoming deployment.
While the everyday job of the human resource soldier generally consists of an office routine and not as much tactical training, a Soldier is a rifleman first. Every soldier is required to be able to perform basic warrior tasks, said Pfc. Adam Swaim, human resource specialist, 22nd HRC.
For this week’s training in convoy operations, the unit refreshed its skills of reacting to contact, casualty evacuation, vehicle recovery, radio operations and reacting to a roadside bomb threat.
“We know that we won’t be staying on the FOB (forward operating base) necessarily, so we need to brush up on these skills because it’s not something we do on a regular basis like the infantry or the engineers,” Swaim said.
The danger of coming into contact with the enemy exists for all soldiers in a deployed environment regardless of their specific job.
“The brigade, the battalion and the company are really committed to making sure that everyone is trained in the appropriate way to handle whatever situation may come,” said 2nd Lt. John Vandegevel, platoon leader, 22nd HRC.
“I personally would rather see these Soldiers make a mistake today and correct it tomorrow so that they are prepared when they deploy,” added Vandegevel.
The soldiers of the 22nd HRC realize the importance of their training at the YTC and take their training seriously.
“As a platoon we want to excel,” said Swaim a Muskegon, Michi., native. “I want to be confident when I go down range. I have kids and a wife so I want to make it back safe.”
For a new private in the Army, training helps build faith in their fellow soldiers and can put their minds at rest so that they can focus on the mission.
“This helps me to see how the leadership operates,” Swaim said. “It helps me understand the whole spectrum of operations. We are having fun and building cohesion with the team, learning teamwork and how each other works under pressure.”
While the soldiers of 22nd HRC focused on tactical training during the field rotation to the YTC not all of them may understand the importance of their chosen job. For one leader it is definitely clear.
“I think the role of the HR Soldier in the Army is extremely important,” said Vandegevel a Carthage, Mo., native. “I think that there is nothing as important as supporting the Soldiers doing the fighting. I can’t imagine what it feels like in theater to see a piece of mail show up from home when Soldiers are struggling with their every day lives over there.”
In order to get through the battle Soldiers receive training, in order to get through the next day we bring them mail, he added.
The soldiers of the 22nd HRC take on many jobs from the everyday processing of paperwork and daily postal operations to being able to navigate the battlefield so that the Army can keep rolling along.