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Pfc. Lorenzo Corder, 24, of Aliceville, Ala., left, rides with the Army’s 416th Transportation Company convoy security detail based at Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad, Iraq.

Pfc. Lorenzo Corder, 24, of Aliceville, Ala., left, rides with the Army’s 416th Transportation Company convoy security detail based at Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad, Iraq. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

Pfc. Lorenzo Corder, 24, of Aliceville, Ala., left, rides with the Army’s 416th Transportation Company convoy security detail based at Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad, Iraq.

Pfc. Lorenzo Corder, 24, of Aliceville, Ala., left, rides with the Army’s 416th Transportation Company convoy security detail based at Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad, Iraq. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

The Army’s 416th Transportation Company is one of several convoy security units on the road every day escorting fuel and goods deliveries to bases. Logisticians are looking to reduce the number of trucks on the road due to roadside bomb hazards.

The Army’s 416th Transportation Company is one of several convoy security units on the road every day escorting fuel and goods deliveries to bases. Logisticians are looking to reduce the number of trucks on the road due to roadside bomb hazards. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

Cpt. Richard Miller, 31, of Braselton, Ga., Sgt. Richard Klinger, 34, of St. Mary's, Ohio, and Pfc. Brian Badger, 27, of Yemassee, S.C., are part of the Army’s 416th Transportation Company convoy security detail.

Cpt. Richard Miller, 31, of Braselton, Ga., Sgt. Richard Klinger, 34, of St. Mary's, Ohio, and Pfc. Brian Badger, 27, of Yemassee, S.C., are part of the Army’s 416th Transportation Company convoy security detail. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

BALAD, Iraq — Thousands of U.S. soldiers pile into Humvees, trucks and tanks to deliver food, ammunition, fuel and other goods to American military bases in Iraq every day.

Granted, it isn’t the military’s sexiest job. But it’s an important one — and dangerous, say Army leaders who are looking for ways to trim the number of trucks on the road.

“It takes a certain intestinal fortitude to get hit by [a roadside bomb] and get back in the truck the next day,” said Brig. Gen. Gregory Couch, commander of the Army Reserve’s 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). “We want to get soldiers off the road.”

Couch’s command, based at Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad, gets hit by a roadside bomb every night, he said.

Brig. Gen. Kevin Leonard of Kuwait’s 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) sends convoys to Iraq and Afghanistan. They get hit two or three times a night, he said.

Both men are working with the Air Force to move items by air when possible.

“A flight may mean two or three convoys don’t have to get outside the wire,” Couch said.

Instead of providing security for the contractor deliveries, soldiers build pallets for things such as repair parts and get them airborne, Couch said.

Heavier items such as fuel and water are more difficult, but there’s “nothing that they won’t attempt to fly if the need arises,” Leonard said.

However, the volume of airborne supplies barely dents the immense amount of logistics traffic on the road.

More than a million gallons of fuel are needed in Iraq daily. A base without running water gets 100,000 cases of water at a time. The 1st TSC has 400 trucks moving from Kuwait, 150 trucks leaving from Jordan and an additional 200 leaving from Turkey each day.

“We rely on trucks heavily and will be relying on them for the foreseeable future,” said 1st TSC’s Lt. Col. Dave Moreland, 50, of Corvallis, Ore.

Aircraft can take about 40 trucks off the road, but this is “insignificant” when looking at the grand totals, he said.

Logisticians also are looking to the bases themselves to help, said Col. Judith Lemire, 47, of Wantagh, N.Y.

“Other ways to keep trucks off roads are to use resources more wisely,” Lemire said. “For instance, foaming tents makes them more energy efficient and reduces fuel.”

Getting and using new equipment — including armored security vehicles and electronics — also helps keep soldiers safe, Couch said.

The number of vehicles on the road hasn’t gone down as more and more people flow into Iraq, Couch said. But this likely will change as “surge” troops start leaving, Leonard said.

“As brigades come out, there will be less demand, less trucks on the road,” Leonard said. “Once the dust settles, we’ll see what we have.”

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