October 12, 2006
‘Providers’ go extra mile to provide Soldier support
Spc. Chris McCann
2nd BCT PAO, 10th Mtn. Div.
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq – In the age of e-mail and 24-hour super centers, people sometimes forget that food and supplies have to be transported by truck or airplane – and getting supplies around in a combat zone can be a dangerous and dicey proposition in Iraq.
The Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, is nicknamed “Provider” for a reason – convoys of trucks roll out every other day to take food, medical supplies and other goods to remote forward operating bases in the brigade’s theater of operations.
At times, the Soldiers of the BSB’s personnel security detachment are called on to assist in moving the items.
On Oct. 4 and 5, the Soldiers traveled from Camp Striker to Forward Operating Base Gator Swamp with a load of supplies – everything from grapefruit to toilet paper.
“They’re dependable,” said Pfc. John Hinton, of 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, a native of Fort Worth, Texas. “They get you what you need when you ask.”
The PSD dropped off a water-purification system to the remote base, which will enable the Soldiers and locals to have potable water without trucking it in. Fruit, Gatorade, soda and other niceties of life were well received.
“It’s to keep morale high,” said Pfc. Antonio Harmon, of Hollywood, Fla., a transportation specialist with the BSB. “It lets them know we’re all on one team. They’ve got our back, and we’ve got theirs.”
“We’re helping bring goods to the Soldiers who don’t get the everyday conveniences we do,” added Spc. George Ernie, of Chicago, also with the PSD. “We bring that out to them.”
The next day, an air-conditioning system repair machine went to Forward Operating Base Yusufiyah, as well as new humvee tires, heavy-duty jacks, foot lockers and sundries.
“Anytime we get stuff that we need, it’s always good,” said Sgt. Scott Matthews, supply sergeant for 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT. “We can always find some use for whatever they send.”
The Soldiers of Company C, 4th Bn., 31st Inf. Regt., based in Yusufiyah, was especially glad for the shipment.
“Batteries are good,” said Pfc. Nicholas Phillips, of Allen, Texas, an infantryman with Company C. “We use a lot of batteries for our night vision (equipment). They run out real quick.”
Due to its relatively central location, the base is often the nearest haven for convoys with disabled vehicles. The mechanics there repair 45 to 50 vehicles each week and go through tires often.
“We need (supplies). It makes our job easier,” said Staff Sgt. Edwin Brown of Charleston, S.C., a mechanic with 4th Bn., 31st Inf. Regt., who explained, the trucks are often badly damaged, with blown tires. “When we’re fixing trucks; we use a lot of supplies.”
The Soldiers of the PSD said they also find a certain satisfaction in keeping their compatriots in the fight.
“It makes us feel good,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Felix, of Memphis, Tenn., the PSD noncommissioned officer in charge.
“When you drop it off, you can see it in their faces,” he said. “They call us the traveling Christmas truck. Last week we were on a delivery and a Soldier said ‘We love you guys.’ It makes us feel good.”
Friday, October 13, 2006
October 12, 2006