Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Humveeing along...

Hopefully, there won't be more discussions over running red lights while driving Humvees on civilian paved roads. And hopefully, the subject won't come up again about heart attacks in Humvees while on 60 degree hilly inclines. But, in case someone mentions these incidents, let it be known that I object whole-heartedly to the notion that I was at fault on either. (hee-hee)

As a new soldier, things can seem surreal at times. Everything is moving so fast. From completing Basic Training to graduating AIT to Mobilization, it has all happened within 6 months for me. I am going with the flow.

I am following to the best of my abilities, and taking pride in it all the way. Our commander once said about our unit, "We've got great leaders, and we've got great followers."

This detachment has a lot to be proud of so far. We've come together as a tightknit group in preparation for deployment in a very short time period.

I was fortunate not to be the only new person to the unit. In fact, more than half the unit is new to each other. Many soldiers in the unit are coming from other parts of the country, and as far away as Chicago, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee. (By the way, it was the Tennesseeans that helped establish the state of Texas.)

Our mission is to tell soldiers' stories. This is what I am waiting for. My hope is that I will get many opportunities to travel Iraq in order to write and photograph soldiers doing their missions.
I am enjoying the comraderie of our unit. Probably the biggest surprise for me about the Army is how many laughs I am getting. All the way through so far, I have come across some very funny people.

Detachment gains valuable experience

Confidence is high for soldiers from the 211th MPAD as they approach Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Since October, the unit has trained vigorously to prepare for its January deployment. Soldiers have come together to prepare for deployment with training in both the classroom and in the field.

After completing three weeks of intensive field and classroom training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, the unit returned to Bryan, Texas to continue its mobilization training.

Training at Fort Dix consisted mainly of basic soldiering skills, including qualifications for weapons training for the M-16 and the M-9. Soldiers also participated in combatives, land navigation, grenades and mine-awareness training.

During training at Fort Dix, soldiers were faced with the challenge of getting out of a rolled-over Humvee. This challenge, like all others faced by the 211th was a success. Every soldier showed his/her ability to do their best in tough situations.

The training at the Reserve Training Center-East at Fort Dix culminated with convoy situational training. Soldiers participated in improvised explosive devices training and also in security exercises at traffic control points.

In Bryan, the unit participated in language training and driver’s training. For two days, soldiers learned key phrases in Arabic that facilitate communication while on deployment. Further instruction took place when soldiers drove Humvees off-road, including going up and down a hill that has close to a 60-degree incline.

The momentum continues with enthusiasm for deployment and the unit’s cohesion is strengthening as it looks towards achieving both short-term and long-term goals.