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When this happens the entire convoy has to be halted until repairs can be made or the load shifted to a backup truck.
“Our mechanics are like a NASCAR pit crew,” said mission commander Sgt. “They have to jump out and fix whatever the problem is - quick.” It’s a nail-biting experience until, finally, the convoy commander calls out the order to “start pushing” again.
The vast majority of the soldiers on the forward operating base won’t ever know they were there - except the shelves of the post exchange will be restocked, or that backhoe they’ve needed desperately will magically be parked in the motor pool.
Once they realize they’ve been resupplied, there will be no one there to thank.
An exposed wire next to the road, a patch of freshly turned dirt, metallic glints of light - anything even slightly suspicious could be deadly in this land. This is my fourth deployment so I know what I’m getting in to.” “I’ve been in two roll-overs, so I have a different type of luck,” chuckled Spc.
Indeed, once or twice an hour they have to detour the entire caravan around a blast crater from a previous IED, sobering reminders that this is no Sunday joy ride. Nine months into their one-year tour, nearly every soldier in the unit has been in a convoy that was hit by one of the insurgent’s bombs. We do it for our families so they can enjoy life back home.” “My very first mission out one of our gun trucks got hit ten kilometers outside of [Bagram Air Field],” said truck commander Sgt. Jonathan Soto, a gunner from Patterson, La., “I’m a little afraid every time we leave, but the Army has trained me and I’m real good at what I do.
The extreme precautions are vital, as the roads they travel are plagued with the number one threat to soldiers in this war – improvised explosive devices.
“It’s probably the most dangerous job out there right now,” said Spc. “We’re on the road constantly and [insurgents] are blowing them up and shooting at us, and it’s not like we can grow wings and fly away from it.” “IEDs are always a worry in the back of your mind,” said Sgt.
1st Class Mark Ponthier, a platoon sergeant from Hessmer, La. It’s what we do and we wouldn’t have it any other way.” Cramped up and strapped in, the soldiers of the 1086th Transportation Company will often ride for more than 20 grueling hours in a stretch, under cover of the night as much as possible.
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