CAMP DODGE, Iowa "It was a rush being under the helicopter doing hands-on training that we have not done before," Sgt. Robert Shannon, of Ashley, said during two weeks of annual training for his North Dakota Army National Guard unit Company A, 231st Brigade Support Battalion at Camp Dodge, Iowa.
The automated logistical specialists, or 92As, experienced hands-on training with warehouse operations, while the motor transport operators, or 88Ms, executed a haul mission and familiarized themselves with multiple terrains. The petroleum supply specialists, or 92Fs, accompanied the 88Ms on the haul mission and learned more about fueling operations; both the truck drivers and fuel sections worked together as a cohesive team during convoy operations.
Training for the logistical specialists began with learning the correct turn-in and receiving procedures. Within their warehouse operations, the group took part in turning in 8,976 parts totaling $179,000 and weighing more than 2,000 pounds.
"A cool aspect of our training included us creating a mobile SSA (supply support activity)," said Pfc. Samantha Hass, of West Fargo. A SSA is a site with all of the necessary equipment and gear to help support a unit.
The group also played a large role in finding missing inventory within the warehouse. They were certified on the VSAT (very small aperture terminal) 1.2M-E system, a satellite communication device used for a mobile SSA.
The motor transport operators completed a haul mission to Fort Riley, Kan., with more than 67,000 pounds of cargo valued at $1.1 million that was turned in for future use by other military units. They also gained valuable experience with cargo loads on the mission. Soldiers completed various off-road courses throughout the training, using several different vehicles. The training enhanced their knowledge of the different capabilities of the vehicles.
"Off-road training is very beneficial for the vehicle operators, especially
with flood duty and other deployments," said Spc. Devyn Bockwitz, of Humboldt, Minn. "These skills also carry over to improve civilian driving skills."
The group also completed many classes, including loading and unloading a CROP (container roll-in/roll-out platform) a cargo rack into a storage container.
The fuel specialists supported the drivers on the haul mission to Fort Riley.
Throughout the training period, they efficiently ran 10 ROM (Refuel on the Move operations), significantly improving their set-up and tear-down time with each new mission. The section received 1,500 gallons of fuel and distributed 2,339 gallons while keeping 100 percent accountability of fuel and paperwork. Ending their training was a hot refuel of two helicopters, which included a mandatory Aqua-Glo test. The test identifies how much water is present in the fuel.
"Just being able to see the helicopter fuel operations from four vantage points with hands on gave me a better aspect of the system and an awesome experience," Shannon said. "Our fuel section has never done anything like this before."
Beyond the hands-on training, the leadership experience also contributed to a successful two-week training period, Soldiers said of the missions, which took place from Nov. 2-17.
"As a first sergeant, it's very gratifying to see the soldiers in our unit successful in the challenges that they faced and to willingly step up into leadership positions that will help prepare them for the future," said 1st Sgt. Kevin Magstadt, of Bismarck, the unit's senior enlisted leader. "It's a testament to the cohesiveness of the unit and the strength of our NCOs (noncommissioned officers) to be recognized by the leadership at the NMTC (National Maintenance Training Center, at Camp Dodge) for their dedication to safety and outstanding performance."