Iraq-bound GIs supplied with convoy safety info
HOHENFELS, Germany — The less time soldiers spend on Iraq’s dangerous roads means fewer chances of bad things happening, a group of Army logisticians learned during an exercise here.
More than 1,000 soldiers with the 16th Sustainment Brigade and the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion out of Bamberg are at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center this month preparing for deployment to Iraq. One of the brigade’s units, the 391st CSSB, already is operating out of Contingency Operating Base Speicher.
In addition to providing supplies to combat units in northern Iraq, the 16th’s soldiers will provide financial services, maintain vehicles, make identification cards, deliver mail and keep computer networks running, according to Col. Martin Pitts, the brigade’s commander.
At the same time, the brigade will work with an Iraqi army battalion, training Iraqis to do basic maintenance such as oil and tire changes on their vehicles, he said.
This month’s exercise — scheduled to end Friday — involved computer simulations of downrange missions, such as delivering thousands of gallons of fuel and water and tons of other supplies to isolated outposts, according to Col. David Luders, a senior logistics trainer at the readiness center.
Downrange, problems could range from a vehicle breakdown to oil on the road, from an insurgent ambush involving improvised explosive devices to showing up at a forward operating base where people are not ready to receive supplies, he said.
“This exercise is about reducing risk for the convoys that are out there on the roads. It is about being able to anticipate problems before they occur and being able to resolve those problems,” Luders said.
One of the soldiers training with the 16th, Sgt. Brandon Williams, 23, of Lusby, Md., spent part of Wednesday working with a new piece of satellite gear — the Global Broadcasting System.
The equipment can receive television pictures along with classified signals and video from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) without compromising bandwidth on the Army’s other satellite networks, he said.