Story and photos by Geoffrey Roper
Soldiers from the 59th Quartermaster Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, took part in training exercises at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site June 9, to prepare for future deployment to Afghanistan.
The Soldiers had mock drills in three separate training scenarios, including escalation of force when working at checkpoints, reacting to improvised explosive devices while driving in vehicles in convoy lanes, and clearing buildings in an urban setting while under enemy fire.
Normally, these Soldiers are in charge of things such as fuel depots or vehicle maintenance. This training works to prepare them for anything that might or could happen when they are finally deployed.
Oftentimes, Soldiers can come up against a variety of situations when in combat zones.
“You never know what you are going to get into over in Iraq or Afghanistan. You could have quartermaster units in the middle of a firefight in a heartbeat,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tony Price, operations sergeant, 59th QM, 43rd SB.
The Soldier credited with putting this training together is Sgt. 1st Class David O. Rodriguez, platoon sergeant, 59th QM, 43rd SB. He said his hope is to give his Soldiers every advantage to stay alive and handle any situation that comes their way.
“The leadership got together to come up with this training. Many of the Soldiers have never seen combat. It’s their first time in a regular unit, and we just wanted to incorporate some good training to include their (military occupational specialty) and include some things not related to their MOS,” he said.
The Soldiers trained in 90-degree weather at PCMS in full gear. This type of training gives them a sense of what the weather conditions in Afghanistan might be, and they said the reason they train at PCMS is so they can concentrate on their mission without the interruptions that might present themselves back at Fort Carson.
They went from three different positions and three different scenarios during the course of an entire day. First was the convoy exercise, as they drove down a lane and mock IEDs were set off to disable their vehicles while coming under enemy fire. The Soldiers lit colored smoke as camouflage, then exited their vehicles and returned fire as a way to clear the area.
Next, the Soldiers learned the rules of engagement through an escalation of force when running a checkpoint. There are various stages, as when they ask a vehicle to stop and it does not. The first stage is obviously the one they hoped for, where the driver stopped as directed. The final stage would be to use deadly force to protect the Soldiers from harm.
Finally, the Soldiers entered a mock village, complete with villagers, and came under enemy fire while attempting to enter and clear buildings.
Each scenario gave the Soldiers a sense of what could happen in war.
“This way we’ll be prepared for whatever mission we take. You know, our normal mission is bulk fuel and maintenance, but if we get assigned anything else, such as being a part of a convoy, we’ll be much better prepared,” said 1st Sgt. Dorian K. Green, 59th QM, 43rd SB.
As the training ended for the day, Soldiers made their way back to their barracks to get some much-needed rest. The leaders of the exercise got together to discuss how the training that day went, and it seemed they were pleased with what they saw.
“Just to see that they’re still motivated, they’re still carrying out the fundamentals that were previously taught to them, I’m just impressed how they changed up scenarios on them and they’re still able to adapt to what’s going on,” said Capt. Jutane Craigg, company commander, 59th QM, 43rd SB.
The 59th QM is expected to deploy to Afghanistan later this year.