Nebraska Guardsmen perform convoy security in Baghdad
Story and photo by Sgt. John Stimac
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) Public Affairs
VICTORY BASE COMPLEX, Baghdad — Soldiers from the 1195th Transportation Company, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) performed a convoy security mission March 2 to Contingency Operating Location Shield to deliver much-needed supplies to the base.
Due to the upcoming elections, convoys to smaller COLs around Baghdad will be scarce, so supplies needed to be delivered on time so COL Shield could sustain its mission through the Iraqi elections period.
The 1195th Trans. Co. out of Kearney, Neb., provides convoy security primarily in the Baghdad area and must travel at night due to the Security Agreement.
Staff Sgt. Nathan Reicks, the convoy commander for the re-supply mission and a McCook, Neb., native, said they were hauling basic supplies, fuel and ammunition to COL Shield to last them through the elections.
"If the mission doesn't get there, they can't sustain and might have to close down," he said. "A lot of these smaller COLs are helping in the training of the Iraqi's and they need all the supplies they can get."
Reicks said being a convoy commander takes a lot of responsibility.
"You have to be willing to put your neck out there for the guys," he said. "You are in charge and if anything goes wrong, you are the guy that has to have an answer for it."
Sgt. Clint L. Hay, a gunner and truck commander for the mission, said he has not seen many problems with the people in Baghdad.
"Most of our problems are due to the weather," he said. "A lot of vehicles we escort can't really take the mud like the military vehicles we have, so we are always there to help them out the best way we can."
Hay, a Lexington, Neb., native, said the deployment has gone by fast.
"I think most of us would rather be out on the road staying busy," he said.
Hay said he has enjoyed his time in Iraq and working with the Soldiers in the unit.
"Through the good times and bad times, my fellow Soldiers and squad leaders have been there for me," he said. "They are a great bunch of guys."
Spc. Tyler Lauer, a driver with the 1195th Trans. Co. and a McCook, Neb. native, said he was a food service specialist before the deployment and volunteered for any position on the convoy security team, so certain slots could be filled.
Besides driving, Lauer said he is always checking the roads, looking for possible improvised explosive devices, suspicious people and making sure it is a safe ride for the gunner and the tactical commander of the truck.
"Tonight was busy, so we had to be on top of our game," he said. "There was a lot of activity, so I was watching out for people, but mainly watching the other vehicles on the road."
He said the main thing he does while driving in downtown Baghdad is to keep focused on his mission and report anything suspicious to his truck commander.
The group has grown together as a team, said Reicks.
"That's very important," he said. "These guys understand each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Reicks is proud that everyone's position is interchangeable.
"We have multiple people that can lead a convoy and could jump up in the gunner spot or be a driver" he said. "We trained people to work around anything; we don't have set people at any one position. Everyone knows how to do the other's job."
Sgt. Jason Delancey, the assistant convoy commander and a Columbus, Neb., native, Spc. Seth A. Weyeneth, a gunner and a McCook, Neb., native, and Sgt. Clint L. Hay, a truck commander and a Lexington, Neb., native, with the 1195th Transportation company, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), perform preventive-maintenance checks and services on a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle March 2 at Contingency Operating Base Liberty in Baghdad. The Kearney, Neb., unit later went on a convoy security mission to Forward Operating Base Shield to deliver much-needed supplies.