Personal security Soldiers learn new routes, areas
Story and photos by Pfc. Lisa A. Cope
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expenditionary) Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION ADDER, Iraq — The 36th Sustainment Brigade personal security detachment left Contingency Operating Location Adder, Iraq, Jan. 1, to conduct a ride-along with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of Tigard, Ore., to learn the route between Victory Base Complex, Iraq, and Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
As part of the upcoming drawdown of forces from Iraq, Al Asad will become part of the area of operations for the 36th Sust. Bde. out of Temple, Texas.
Command Sgt. Maj. Elizabeth Shockley, with the 36th Sust. Bde. and a Richardson, Texas, native, said the main goal of the mission was to familiarize herself and her team with the area and the units at Al Asad.
Although the PSD was not assembled until July 3, Shockley said she is amazed at how well the team works together and said she has full trust in the Soldiers' abilities and skills.
"I would go anywhere, with anyone of them, at any time," she said.
The team was originally scheduled to return to COL Adder Jan. 6, but mission requirements kept them out until the night of Jan. 8. This shows how important it is for the members of the PSD to be flexible and reactive to changing missions and extended timelines, said Shockley.
Sgt. McArthur W. Jones Jr., the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 36th Sust. Bde. PSD and a Fort Worth, Texas, native, said another goal of the mission was team building.
"It went great," he said. "The mission was accomplished. … We became more familiar with the route, and we were able to team build with the (command sergeant major)."
While traveling one of the routes, the team halted for roughly an hour as an explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed an improvised explosive device directly in its path.
"That is something we train for, that is something we prepare for, we understand the dangers that are out there on the (main supply routes)," said Jones. "It just so happened that a unit in front of our convoy found the IED, and EOD and (quick reaction force) took care of it. … It gives us more confidence that route clearance is definitely doing their job, because they are finding the IEDs before we find them."
Although the mission went well, everyone was relieved to get back to COL Adder, Shockley said.
"It is kind of funny, because you are not home but you consider it home," she said. "I think everybody had that sense of homecoming when we rolled in. We knew not only that we were back home, but job well done and mission complete with everybody safe. If we have that every time, that is the best that we could ask for."
The 36th Sustainment Brigade personal security detachment out of Temple, Texas, poses for a group picture in Al Faw Palace during their eight-day mission Jan. 1 through Jan. 8, at Camp Victory, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by: Pfc. Lisa A. Cope)