21st CSH & 151st MCT Conduct Convoy Live Fire Training
Story by Sgt. Joel F. Gibson
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office
Soldiers from the 151st Movement Control Team, 49th Transportation Battalion, 13th Corps Support Command, and Soldiers from the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th COSCOM, participated in convoy live-fire training at the Pilot's Knob Multi-Use Range here Dec. 15.
The live-fire training was the second part of a two-part regimen to get the Soldiers prepared for convoy operations while deployed.
"It's a great combination, in phase one they go step by step, working without ammunition," said Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald J. Solis, command sergeant major of the 21st.
"In phase two, the Soldiers use live ammo so they can experience engaging a target from a moving vehicle," said Solis,"The combination of both gets our Soldiers prepared to get on the road in Baghdad."
During the training, the 21st utilized junior enlisted Soldiers as convoy commanders, to get them experience for what could fall upon their shoulders while deployed, said Colonel Jeff Clark, commanding officer of the 21st.
The convoy commander for one of the training convoys was Pfc. Sheena E. Isaac, an operating room specialist in the 21st.
Isaac briefed the Soldiers on the scenario facing the training convoy and told them to bring their weapons to the ready position and file into the vehicles.
Falling completely into her role as convoy commander, she noticed one of the Soldiers had not complied with one of her orders and yelled out,"Campbell, unsling that weapon!"
The convoy started off down a gravel road coming to a safety point, at which time every vehicle's range safety officer communicated with the lead vehicle when they were ready.
Along the first stretch of road, the Soldiers encountered silhouette pop-up targets and engaged them.
They encountered similar pop-up targets on the left side of the vehicle, but they also encountered a large, white, rectangular object moving alongside the convoy.
The white rectangle represented an insurgent vehicle, and the Soldiers engaged it.
The convoy completed the training without incident, and the Soldiers made their way back into the building where armor and eye protection were issued for an after-action-report.
"I enjoyed it," said Spc. Zachariah A. Lewis, a combat medic with the 21st," Firing from a truck is a little more difficult than firing from a stationary position."
Lewis continued,"It was a little complicated, but I got the hang of it, and now I feel better prepared and more confident for when we deploy."
Isaac briefed the Soldiers from her convoy on what happened,"When we started the convoy, we began to take on small arms fire first from the right side, then from the left."
Isaac continued,"We returned fire to suppress their fire, and moved our convoy out of the danger zone."
The Soldiers conducted the live-fire range wearing the same gear they'll be required to wear during convoys while deployed.
"It's a good thing we trained with the same gear we'll fight with," said Sgt. Anthony Dobresnski, a supply sergeant with the 21st.
"When we get all our Soldiers back from their holiday leave, we'll do this again, said Clark,"and once more when our reserve augmentees arrive prior to deployment."
Clark addressed his Soldiers,"The consensus most difficult job in the medical field is providing detainee health care, which is why they gave that job to the 21st."
The Soldiers cheered.
Pfc. Samantha B. Stephens, a medical supply specialist with the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th COSCOM surverys her sector during convoy live fire training. The 21st CSH recently redeployed from Hurricane Katrina relief operations and is preparing to deploy to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo by Sgt. Joel F. Gibson, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office