By 1st Lt. Andrew Snoke | 32nd Composite Truck Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Soldiers with 32nd Composite Truck Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, standardized and executed their first Convoy Leaders Academy to validate their squad leaders on motor transportation operations at the foundational level. The three-week training program was a deliberate effort to prepare Soldiers for a culminating training event in June, a division-level exercise in August and an upcoming mission later this year.
The 32nd CTC currently has 32 squad leaders enrolled in the unit’s Squad Leader Development Program (SLDP). Embedded in the SLDP curriculum is the Convoy Leader’s Academy.
“It is important for any unit conducting motor transport operations to standardize convoy procedures and instruction,” said 1st Sgt. Jeryn Sallee, senior enlisted leader, 32nd CTC, 68th CSSB, 4th SB. “Conducting a convoy leader’s academy enables us to ensure that our leaders are conducting operations in a safe and efficient manner, whether it be in garrison or in a tactical environment. Standardizing the manner in which we conduct convoys allows any leader to pick up and carry on a mission with continual shared understanding from the Soldiers they’re leading.”
To ensure the squad leaders are teaching the lessons shared by their mentors, phased training, using a “crawl, walk, run” methodology was used. Leaders first went through the training as a “dry run,” which focused on roles and responsibilities and preparing a convoy. The ability for squad leaders to execute a convoy brief to standard earned the ability to progress to the next week of training.
“Leading a convoy is an essential function of being a leader in the transportation community. It requires sound judgement and confidence,” said Staff Sgt. Wade Epley, instructor and NCO in charge of monitoring safety, 32nd CTC, 68th CSSB, 4th SB. “Doing this builds Soldiers’ confidence and ability to perform as the training progresses.”
Of the 32 squad leaders, 18 participated in the training.
“The Convoy Leaders Academy provided a great opportunity for everyone to get out of the office and train together,” said 2nd Lt. James Haley, platoon leader, 32nd CTC, 68th CSSB, 4th SB. “I was surprised at how complex convoy training is, but the three-week course provided enough time and training to gain the confidence necessary to run a convoy. Overall, the training was a great opportunity to get closer to all of the leaders in the company.”
Both Epley and Haley thought the leaders most improved skill was their ability to communicate. This included calling the tactical operations center to provide updates to control situations and Soldiers during scenarios.
Staff Sgt. Roger Lumibao, senior truckmaster, 32nd CTC, 68th CSSB, 4th SB, said he can see the difference the training is having on the unit’s Soldiers and leaders.
“This training is building a better team,” said Lumibao. “Leaders are learning about themselves and so are the Soldiers. Together, we are making it happen. After this training I am proud and confident they can complete any mission with ease.”
At the completion of the academy, 14 participants passed the certification. The certification given is not just a token of trust given by the commander, but a certification to train and develop the Soldiers and NCOs who look up to those who were able to complete the course.
“By our leaders’ outstanding performance, we certified their ability to execute large-scale convoy operations and validated our confidence as a company to be represented by our graduates,” said Capt. Margaret Maher, commander, 32nd CTC, 68th CSSB, 4th SB. “Convoys are what we do. We move everything; we provide logistics for those who fight.”