LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Iraq — For the past nine months, Lt. Col. Sue Davidson has been directing convoys around Iraq like a chess player moving pieces on a board.

Yet she, too, is somewhat taken aback when the figures are written in black and white.

From Feb. 8 to Nov. 2, Davidson, commander of the 49th Transportation Battalion, oversaw the movement of 57,715 convoys, a total of 785,882 vehicles. Each day averaged about 215 convoys and nearly 3,000 vehicles.

“I don’t think about what I do until I start talking about it,” she said.

Then, she admitted, there’s a feeling of “awe” about it.

Preparing to leave soon to Texas and her two children, Davidson has had strict control over the trucks that carry supplies, from food to clothes to ammunition, to 140,000 troops and thousands more civilians in Iraq.

“I don’t own a single vehicle. I just control them,” she said. “They can’t go out a gate until I tell them.”

But with that comes great responsibility. Say a roadside bomb has stopped traffic along one route. She has to divert other convoys on that highway to other routes or to a safe haven so they are not stopped in the middle of nowhere. Each convoy averages 50 people.

“I can’t afford for my drivers to be sitting on the road waiting for something to clear,” she said. “They’d be sitting ducks.”

Many of the trucks are equipped with various communication gear and technology so Davidson can monitor every step of every convoy from her office at LSA Anaconda.

“I know where my trucks are,” she said. If someone makes a wrong turn, she can tell them.

She has 31 teams at various points throughout the theater, from bases and ports to railheads and airfields. They pass along to her what is needed by the troops in the field. She sends that request to the “fusion cell,” representatives from command, operations, intelligence and the like.

Once the goods have been located and approved for shipment, the list goes back to Davidson who organizes a convoy to get the goods to the customer.

“I do plan a week in advance, but I can change it with a moment’s notice,” she said.

She also organizes supply by aircraft, which means trucks and people don’t have to cover the dangerous roads of Iraq. This also provides some eye-popping numbers. Air movements since February have kept more than 9,000 trucks, 930 MP escorts and almost 40,000 soldiers off the road.

And although rail shipments are rarely used anymore, during the surge to replace troops 10 months ago rail movements kept more than 1,200 trucks and 5,000 soldiers from traveling Iraq’s roads.

“We’ve done a lot of things to try to get trucks off the road,” she said.

The roads are dangerous, of course. She said the worst 24-hour period in her tenure saw 65 incidents involving her convoys.

“There were several simultaneous interactions on the road network,” she said.

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