By Loni Witscheber, Triad Contributor
Training at Fort McCoy, has come to a close for a
Minnesota-based Army Reserve unit.
After participating in training here since mid-September,
approximately 220 Soldiers of the 322nd Maintenance Company,
headquartered in Arden Hills, Minn., are ready to deploy overseas in
support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Nearly 40 percent of the Soldiers in the unit have been
cross-leveled to the 322nd from various units nationwide.
Soldiers from the 322nd
Maintenance Company undergo the Ground Assault Convoy Live-Fire
Exercise. (Photo by Loni
The unit has lived at both Forward Operating Base (FOB) Liberty
and FOB Freedom.
The unit's final training was the Ground Assault Convoy
Live-Fire Exercise. Master
Sgt. Stanley T. Sutherland, a unit assister with the 3rd Brigade,
335th Division, of Sheridan, Ill., said the exercise consisted of
taking vehicles out in the field and engaging targets throughout three
"Somewhere within the engagement areas, they'll be
dismounting because of a simulated Improvised Explosive Device (IED)
or something else that will force them to stop," said Sutherland.
"In a different area, they'll get hit by an IED that may
cause a casualty. They will have to make decisions on where to
MedEvac, where to put their landing zone site, and whether to do it
immediately or wait."
also are required to start IV lines for fluids.
The convoy commanders learn through a full gamut of practical
exercises they'd encounter in-country, said Sutherland.
The convoy commander is put to task and learns how to call for
a MedEvac, make IED reports, and execute the deployment of a logistics
group security team and bring them back in.
An Observer/Controller (OC) is in each vehicle to monitor every
situation that occurs for evaluation purposes.
convoy commander is in charge of the whole serial (convoy).
We step back and evaluate how he's doing with his skills for
commander control," said Sutherland.
"We'll step in if there is a safety violation; otherwise
we let them run the show."
Chief Warrant Officer Todd A. Dietrich, the convoy commander,
said the training has not only been excellent, but that it's been the
best Army training he's ever had.
Dietrich credits the OC trainers and the 2nd Brigade, 85th
Division, for the outstanding, realistic training.
"This unit has been outstanding. Our motivation is high,
we've accomplished everything and more that was expected of us, and
it's all because we've got good troops," said Dietrich. "I
was cross-leveled into this unit; I'd never met them before last
month, and I couldn't be happier to be going to Iraq with this
Spc. John M. Broesch said the training has been as realistic as
possible without being in-country.
"The motivation is high, and we're ready to go," said
"We've had a lot of instructors who have been here for us
and informed us on what to expect overseas.
They've done the best they could to prepare us," said Spc.
Anthony H. Cantazaro.
(Witscheber is a Public Affairs specialist
for VT Griffin, contractor for Base Augmentation Support Services.)