By Sgt. James Geelen | 4th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Typically on the open road, large groups of tractor trailers or convoys are illegal because they affect traffic and create trouble for people driving on highways. However, convoy operations are a large part of military life and are used to maneuver Soldiers, weapons and critical supplies to help friendly forces in any theater of operations or training events.
Convoy operations are an imperative part of training for the Soldiers of 247th Composite Supply Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. And over the past few weeks the Soldiers have been conducting multiple convoys each day during War Horse Strike, a brigade exercise.
“Convoy operations are super important to our company,” said 1st Lt. Elizabeth Cortez, company executive officer, 247th CSC, 68th CSSB, 4SB. “We have to backward plan a lot to make sure our crews receive the proper amount of rest, and that we have enough vehicles available to support the mission.”
The training exercise was designed to test the lethality of 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., and the sustainment capabilities of subordinate and sister units.
“2nd (IBCT) has a lot of requirements that we don’t have an issue meeting,” Cortez said. “We’re pushing out two convoys a day that last anywhere from five to 12 hours a convoy. By the end of this training exercise, we expect to participate in 25-30 convoys.”
The ability to complete many convoys was a demonstration of the capabilities of the battalion.
“I think (68th CSSB) is by far one of the best assets the division has to use,” said 1st Lt. Branden Jones-Adams, 4th Platoon leader, 247th CSC, 68th CSSB, 4SB. “We have the capabilities to supply water, fuel, ammunition — everything you need to complete a mission. We move a lot of commodities for the rest of the division through our large convoys.”
The Soldiers constantly train in basic battle drills and tactics that help them become experts at their craft.
“We do a lot of sergeants-time training and scheduled training to make sure we teach the Soldiers how they should react to contact, or what to do when they discover an IED, (improvised explosive device),” Cortez said. “This is important to us as Soldiers — who are very consistently on the road pushing supplies to have this knowledge — so we can successfully execute the mission while still defending the Soldiers and equipment.”
While the execution of the mission is always a priority, the leaders are proactive in looking to avoid accidents.
“We always stress drivers’ safety to the Soldiers during our convoy briefings,” Jones-Adams said. “At the end of the day, before the mission, safety is our number one priority. We stress to the Soldiers that their safety is more important than meeting a deadline.”
The Soldiers with the sustainment brigade provide a variety of support and commodities to the other brigades, Cortez said.
“We want everyone to see us as competent, confident, logisticians that work really hard to be very skilled at our craft,” he added.