Friday, August 10, 2007

From one point to another, whatever it takes to accomplish the mission

2nd Lt. Liz Lopez
210th BSB, 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) PAO
Multi-National Division – Center

When conducting a move with large quantities of heavy equipment, one of the most important assets to have is the ability to lift and position that equipment once it is on site, but when you are moving an entire battalion, it is time to call in the big guns.
To serve this purpose the Rough Terrain Container Handler, was transferred from Forward Operating Base Yusufiyah to Patrol Base Dragon in to facilitate the move of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y.
Soldiers of 4th Platoon, Company A, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Divison, were in charge of the movement. But the muscle behind the move came from Company B who supplied a Heavy Equipment Transporter and two operators.
The move was scheduled for the morning of Aug. 5. The platoon spent the night at Yusufiyah after completing a combat logistics patrol the day before to ease the burden of the early trip.
From the start, moving the RTCH was not an ordinary operation. Due to low-hanging wires in the city of Yusufiyah outside the forward operating base, the team decided to load the RTCH onto the HET after passing the last power lines beyond the Joint Security Station.
Once at the loading location, the 210th BSB HET crew dismounted along with Sgt. 1st Class Robert Moore, a native of Gurdon, Ark. This team took charge directing and securing the large vehicle on the HET trailer. The entire process on the ground took less than half and hour.
As the team finished, Sgt. Edward Pillans, a native of Wasilla, Alaska, flashed a smile at the job well done. However, as fate would have it, his pleasure was a little premature.
Following the upload, the convoy continued their movement along the route to Patrol Base Dragon. With little more than two miles to go to get to their destination, disaster struck.
As the convoy maneuvered between barriers at a checkpoint, the HET, which is the Army’s largest vehicle, hit the cement obstructions consequently flattening five of the trailer’s forty tires.
With only two spares, the crew had no choice but to continue on to Dragon where they had a better chance of repairing the damage.
Complicating the move the HET trailer threw the first of it’s blown tires.
There was no other choice, but for the convoy to halt as the wrecker and its crew moved to the assistance of the broken vehicle. After an unsuccessful attempt to isolate the tire-less wheel, the team realized heavy load from the RTCH would need to be removed first.
With Dragon in sight, the crew decided to push on and hope for the best. However, with the HET limping on a wounded axle, the convoy continued its mission at a crawl, moving at a speed of less than five miles per hour.
From behind, the gauge of the metal wheel rim dragging on the pavement could be followed for the next two miles.
But, disaster seemed to have abated, and the convoy was able to enter Dragon’s main gate shortly before noon.
Once at their destination, the majority of the convoy departed to download other equipment that had been sent from Yusufiyah. But, the HET and its crew remained close to the gate where they could attempt to repair the damage to their truck.
After removing the heavy load from the RTCH, the task of making the trailer road-worthy became slightly less intimidating.
The HET would still be riding on one flat tire, but without the RTCH onboard, the vehicle could easily make it back to Camp Striker where the Soldiers in Company B would complete the repairs.
No matter the obstacles in front of them, the Soldiers in the 210th BSB will accomplish any mission they are given. They do not believe in defeat. And, they have learned through hard experience that where there is a will, there is a way.

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