War on Terrorism

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Logistics Battalion Keeps Supply Lines Open in Iraq

By Army Sgt. Joshua Risner
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 14, 2009 - Logistics soldiers here may not be clearing routes of roadside bombs, but they are taking the fight to the enemy in a different way. Without a steady supply of food, fuel and ammunition, an army cannot sustain itself for long.

Soldiers of the 82nd Brigade Support Battalion keep the supply lines open for the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Nearly every day, convoys laden with provisions bound for various sites in and around Baghdad move out of Forward Operating Base Hammer.

The battalion has been in theater since December and has carried out so many logistical missions, none of the soldiers can readily recall exactly how many.

Soldiers in the battalion's Company A accomplish the mission, though it is fraught with dangerous roads, long hours and nearly constant moving, said Army 1st Lt. Jeff Majer, a platoon leader in the company.

The convoys carry a variety of materials including fuel, ammunition, food and automotive parts, Majer said. To help shoulder the load, contract drivers are included in the convoys.

"These guys help give my soldiers a little bit of a break by taking on some of our mission," Majer added. To ensure the safety of everyone involved, Company A provides its own security detail, Army Sgt. David Washam said.

Before every mission, the soldiers perform battle drills to keep tactical procedures fresh in their minds, Washam said. Troops mount up in their vehicles and drive around the staging area to simulate convoy operations.

"It's not unusual for us to do 24- to 30-hour missions," Majer said. "Some of these guys have been on back-to-back-to-back missions. It's been rough on them, but they get the job done."

(Army Sgt. Joshua Risner serves in the Multinational Division Baghdad public affairs office.)

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