Screaming Eagles make their mark within the Wrangler Brigade

Story by 1st Lt. Aaron Rogers
594th Transportation Company

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — Flexibility is the key word to a transportation company; it must be prepared to change its mission at a moment’s notice. From theater and regional line-haul missions, to convoy security, a transportation company must adapt to the ever-changing operations.

The 594th Transportation Company, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) arrived in theater and hit the ground running. The unit is truly one of a kind, serving as the only company in the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), to operate flat bed tractor trailers, up-armored Humvees, and the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, known the world over as MRAPs.

As the newest piece of equipment within the Wrangler Brigade, MRAPs have been the focus as the company has prepared Soldiers to operate this new piece of equipment. The MRAP vehicles are a family of armored fighting vehicles designed to survive IED attacks and ambushes.  The MRAPs will be integrated into convoy escort teams to help protect Wrangler combat logistics patrols throughout the theater.

Within the first few months of arrival, the unit received four MRAPs and immediately began training the Soldiers to operate them. The training consisted of a nine-day training event that allows Soldiers to participate in classroom instruction, driver’s training, situational training exercise lanes and a convoy live fire range.

The classroom portion of the training introduces the Soldier to the equipment outlining functions and capabilities. Driver’s training allows the Soldiers to get behind the wheel and get comfortable driving the MRAP in different terrain, which was all topped off with a convoy live fire exercise.  This allows the gunner to get comfortable firing on the move from a higher position.

The unit has trained six teams to operate the MRAPs and has received positive feedback from the training.

Staff Sgt. Ngombetikwa  Mbuyamba, a platoon sergeant within the company likes the MRAPs a lot. “We don’t have to [stop the convoy and refuel the MRAP], they can travel as far as any truck within theater, along with gunners enjoying the better view because they’re higher.”

The unit has sent two teams north on convoy and successfully returned with no problems.

Staff Sgt. Stephen King a convoy escort team commander was the first from the brigade to take a team north.

King said that he has no doubt that the MRAPs will be able to handle an IED better than the up-armored humvees.

Lt. Col. Stacy Townsend, the 4th Sustainment Brigade Deputy Commander also accompanied King’s team to get a first hand view of how the MRAPs are operated.

“They preformed wonderful and lived up to expectations,” said Townsend. “The ride was also more comfortable due to the larger size, one I appreciated more than the humvee.”

 

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CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - A MRAP driven by a 'Screaming Eagle' with the 594th Transportation Company, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) navigates its way through a course of red cones to simulate twists and turns on a driver's obstacle course to simulate driving conditions in Iraq. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. John D. Ortiz)

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CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Members of the 594th Transportation Company, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) pose for the camera with an MRAP after completing the day's training events to become certified to drive and operate the newest vehicle in the 4th Sustainment Brigade's fleet. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. John D. Ortiz)