204TH BRIGADE SUPPORT BATTALION
Rough Rider Connection V O L U M E
SPECIAL POINTS OF INTEREST:
A Message from the Commander
Rough Rider Big 9 in Action
FOB Walton Prayer Room
Aid Station Upgrades
Bravo Company Moves into a New Motor Pool
Alpha Company Provides Support from KAF
CPT Ashlea Cleveland
I S S U E
J U L Y
2 0 1 1
Once again, greetings from FOB Walton, Afghanistan. The temperatures continue to hover in the low 100s and the work for our Rough Rider Soldiers continues to climb. Recently, I spent sometime talking to our Soldiers about the responsibilities that we have taken on here in Kandahar and it became clear to me that we are currently doing things that not many Brigade Support Battalions can claim. Take for instance the Base Defense Operation Cell (BDOC)—manned and led by our Bravo Black Knights, the BDOC Team has handled several detainee missions, completed Raven flights, and executed several reconnaissance and surveillance patrols all to ensure the safety of our Soldiers on FOB Walton. The Trailblazers continue to execute their mayoral responsibilities with professionalism and care. The mayor cell will look back at their tour with amazement realizing that they are running a small town here on the FOB. The Charlie Company Cobras conduct missions that only the best trained can handle while providing support to 1-10 Calvary’s Strike Force Team. In addition to saving lives in their medical role, our young medical professionals continue to do great things each day. The Assassins have taken on a mission that frankly will continue for the next three years. Operation Clean Sweep has begun with Alpha Company receiving and sorting through thousands of parts and equipment from all units within CTF Warhorse. They have already saved the Army over $250,000 in recouped repair parts and end items. As always, a professional organization that takes on every mission with excellence. The Personal Security Detachment not only transports and provides security for CSM Tuten and I whenever or wherever we go throughout the area, but they have also completed some original work such as detainee movement, quick reaction force for the FOB and the WarHorse Brigade, and executed important escort missions for sensitive items that simply had to be moved without notice. Couple all these missions with our routine sustainment operations in support of the WarHorse Brigade and you have one busy and proud Battalion! I keep charging the company commanders and staff to remain aggressive—anticipate your mission and be ready for just about everything. I know as you do—that our Soldiers are incredible and they will rise to the occasion no matter what. I know you’ll enjoy the latest edition of the Rough Rider Connection. Thank you for all your support. Please know the Rough Riders will continue to make it happen—with the “it” representing anything at anytime!
1LT Betsy Arndt
This newsletter contains official and unofficial information. The inclusion of some unofficial information in this newsletter has not increased the cost to the Government, in accordance with DOD 4525.8-M
The Rough Rider Big 9 in Action By SSG Adam S. Houck, 656 Transportation Company
SSG Houck, an 88M, motor transport operator, is from Cleveland, OH and in the 656 Transportation Company in the Army Reserves out of Hobart, IN. As a civilian he is also a truck driver.
All Soldiers who have traveled the roads of Iraq and Afghanistan know that the enemy is out there trying to attack US Soldiers. One of the ways that the enemy attacks is through the use of improvised explosive devices (IED). Soldiers receive training to spot locations and obstacles that the enemy would use to place an IED to try to hurt them. What do they do in order to prepare for potential enemy actions? How do they prepare themselves in order to stay safe while out on the roads? Well, part of what they do is take opportunities away from the enemy. Sometimes this is as simple as moving just one single barrier on the side of a road that is traveled almost every day. This is where the short story begins. Approximately one year ago a local truck driver was traveling along Highway 1 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan while in route to deliver barriers to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Walton. During this delivery, the truck driver lost one of the barriers off the back of his truck. Well that barrier that fell off the back of the truck approximately one year ago still remained on the side of the road, until just a few days ago. The 204th Battalion Com-
mander, knowing the dangers such objects can potentially pose, decided it would be in everyoneâ€™s best interest to have it removed. So, set in motion a mission to remove the barrier on just a few hours notice. What all goes in to planning a mission? Well, unlike being home in the United States, one cannot just jump in a truck and go remove this barrier from the side of the road. There are a number of factors that must be considered, planned and executed in order to accomplish safe mission completion. Of course, we use Troop Leading Procedures in conjunction with five paragraph operations order that most Soldiers have been taught. However, the Rough Riders have an additional tool in order to ensure that they have thought of everything with respect to mission preparation and completion, the Rough Rider Big 9. The Rough Rider Big 9 could be looked at as just another checklist. However, it is more than that. The Rough Rider Big 9 is not just a single leaderâ€™s tool, it is a tool for the whole team. As a reserve Soldier, attached to an active duty unit, teamwork is the very foundation of what
makes our Army successful. The Rough Rider Big 9 helps leaders and Soldiers see the big picture of what goes into planning and executing a mission. It is very easy to get tunnel vision after running missions for nearly 10 months. However, the Rough Rider Big 9 keeps our minds fresh, allowing us the opportunity to think about all possible scenarios throughout all phases of the mission. At the end of the day, the Rough Rider Big 9 is only going to ensure that Soldiers are prepared for the mission and they all are brought home safely. With the support of the Assassins of Alpha Company, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, the 656 Transportation Company has accomplished every mission throughout their time in Afghanistan because of their application of the Rough Rider Big 9. Yes, this mission to remove the barrier may have seemed like a simple mission, however, the application of the Rough Rider Big 9, even to the smallest of tasks, has allowed the Soldiers to come back to the FOB safely, and provided one less location for the insurgency to place an IED.
Prayer Room for FOB Walton Workers By SPC Justin Crossno, Headquarters and Headquarters Company Orderly Room Clerk KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—It has only been two months since their arrival and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 204th Brigade Support Battalion (BSB), 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division has already made the necessary improvements on BuildAbove: Sign on the prayer room door. Right: SGT Alfredo Montero ing 49. The building is now ready for use and will provide a applies the finishing touches to the quiet and respectful place where the local workers of FOB prayer room. Walton can come together and practice their religious obligation of prayer. The building underwent various improvements which was performed by HHC 204th BSB Trailblazers. Chaplain (CPT) Joel Payne and MAJ Audrey Woo were also instrumental in the construction of the prayer room. The room has been completed in time for the national celebration of Ramadan, a Muslim holiday rich in tradition. Although it is for temporary usage, it was something that the Soldiers and leadership of HHC, 204th BSB wanted to do in order to express unity and a sense of alliance towards a common goal of peace among all the local national workers that work side by side with our Soldiers and civilians on FOB Walton.
Charlie Company’s Aid Station Upgrades By SPC Daniel Baker, Charlie Company Unit Public Affairs Representative KANDAHAR, Afghanistan—As a Medic running an aid station, deployment is like moving into a house, apartment, or even a dorm room. You assess the situation you are inheriting, plan upgrades, and then proceed to make necessary changes to call the space your home. For the last few weeks, the Medics have been working as a team making improvements to the facility they will take pride in making FOB Walton’s Aid Station. Arranging the trauma room, supplying exam rooms, and ensuring there is proper storage is no easy feat. The Medics have arranged and rearranged work space, placing supplies where they will be easily accessible for any situation. After each change they have run a training scenario to test the situation ensuring it is of the most benefit to them while they are working. A huge benefactor in the ability to arrange the supplies and ensure maximum quality workspace for the limited area is SSG Kissoondial Ramotar’s woodworking abilities. Need a shelf, he is the man for the job. A table? No SSG Ramotar works on a project to improve problem. Setting up a workbench and gathering supplies from around the the storage capacity of FOB Walton’s Aid FOB, SSG Ramotar has been able to make a number of improvements to Station. this relatively new aid station that the Medics are fortunate to call their own. All the Medics, Physicians Assitants, and patients have all enjoyed the area beautification projects that have been completed, and look forward to the endless improvement projects that lay ahead.
Bravo Company Moves to a New Motor Pool
By SPC Natasha Gaskins, Bravo Company Unit Public Affairs Representative
In the photo: Soldiers from Bravo Company construct their new motor pool on FOB Walton. From left to right: PFC Jessica Canterbury, SPC Cameron White, SPC Matthew Cowan, PFC Scott Khamphoumanivong, SGT Charles Barker, and SSG Travis Maughn.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan— Small, cramped and absolutely no space were the words that a lot of Soldiers would use to describe the old motor pool that the 204th Battalion inherited The move into the new expansion was a team effort that all Soldiers in Bravo Company had to participate in. There were many obstacles that had to be overcome while the Sol“If you improve the diers were using the old work environment of motor pool which inthe Soldiers, you are cluded the limited space that had to be shared therefore improving with the AC First (a contheir quality of life.” tractor for the Army) Civilians. “Sharing the small motor pool with the civilians had become a little congested, especially when moving vehicles in and out for repair,” Says SPC Matthew Cowan, of the Mech Section (Maintenance) in Bravo Company. Many Soldiers found that they had to communicate with not only each other, but also the AC First Civilians, so that a coordinated effort could be put in to reduce the complications of multiple military vehicles coming in and out of
the motor pool at the same time. The extra space allotted in the new motor pool will not only save time, but also make the daily tasks of the Soldiers and AC First Civilians a lot easier. Independence Day was not the only thing celebrated on the 4th, it was also the day they moved into the new expansion. Many Soldiers looked forward to the increase in space that they would be able to work in. “The move to the new expansion was a well coordinated effort,” Says PFC Jessica Canterbury of Mech Section. All of the different sections in Bravo Company had to work together so that all the tools, connexes and vehicles could be moved from the old motor pool in a timely manner, while also maintaining their daily duties, “Moving to the new expansion yard while also continuing to manage the maintenance and repairs of vehicles has been challenging,” said SPC Cowan. However, not all of the sections in Bravo Company were able to move at the same time as the other sections. The GSE Section (Ground Support Equipment) had to move last due to their obligations as generator mechanics. “Our section gives electricity to everyone, so either we had to move first or last, we chose to move last, but it all works out because all of the other sections are coming back after they are settled, to help us move,” says SGT Juan Gutierrez of GSE. Bravo Company made it a priority to help each other during the transition to the new motor pool.
Moving to the new expansion not only allowed the Soldiers more space to work in, it also makes their daily duties easier to accomplish. With the limited space that was provided in the old motor pool, many vehicles had to be placed in different areas, “Alpha Company had vehicles located in three to four different locations which made it difficult when trying to find a certain vehicle for repairs, having all the vehicles in one spot will be more convenient,” Says SPC Cowan. The Soldiers were not the only ones affected by the move, the AC 1st Civilians were also affected. The AC 1st Civilians who worked alongside the Soldiers in the old motor pool also moved to the new expansion. AC 1st Civilian, Joe Kaleal who is small arms repair who works closely with SGT Karra Peterson of Armament, believes that, “The move was beneficial because it consolidated the shops.” Moving to the expansion allowed civilians to have a close, less chaotic communicative relationship with the Soldiers. Even though many Soldiers were optimistic about the move into the new expansion, there were a few things they were worried about. Many Soldiers were concerned about the distance between the new motor pool and where the rest of Bravo Company was located including PLL (Prescribed Load List). Just about all the sections need to communicate with PLL clerks on a daily basis due to ordering and picking up parts for their military vehicles. “The only thing posing a problem with the move into the
Assassins Support CTF Warhorse from KAF
The KAF Commodity Expeditor Team. From left to right: PFC Latona, SGT Thompson, SPC Davenport, CPL Oliver, SFC Jones and SSG Book.
the NCOIC of the KAF Team working around the clock to ensure every mission is accomplished and every deadline met. Under SFC Jones are three sub-teams who concentrate on the movement and processing of either CL V, CL IV, or CL IX and rolling stock. SSG Rebecca Book, SGT Archie Thom pson, CPL Joshua Oliver, SPC Thomas Davenport and PFC Vincenzo Latona handle the CL IV section. While no day has the same routine their job consists of receiving the Brigade’s rolling stock, loading and downloading Host Nation Trucks (as well as communicating with the local national truck drivers), preparing CL IV for movement to FOBs and company outposts (COPs), preparing mail for delivery, and organizing racks of excess equipment for turn in to the hazardous materials point (HAZMAT) and Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO). This is a large workload for only five people, but their high skill level as well as motivation and competence in their job has ensured no mission goes unaccomplished. For CL IX, SSG Efrain Colon-Perez leads with SGT Rodrigo Rocha and SGT Mario Yarbrough processing and
pushing high priority parts to FOB Walton and Operations Centers in the area of operations (AO). In one week alone, three NCOs were able to prepare 138 pallets in support of CTF Warhorse maintenance efforts. Without their dedication and urgency, units would not receive essential maintenance parts that keep them prepared to fight. In the CL V section, perhaps the most important of all classes in this war, is SSG Joshua Houchin an 89B, ammunition specialist. Working to process, document, receive, hold, and move ammunition for the Brigade, SSG Houchin has literally one of the most important jobs to protect and arm CTF Warhorse. Alpha Company is fortunate to have such a great group of NCOs and Soldiers who can work independently of the organic company and complete any given task on their own. They are true leaders who have adapted quickly to a role they were not necessarily expecting; and not only have they thrived but have gone above and beyond what is expected of them. Alpha Company is proud of its KAF team and all their efforts to support and sustain CTF Warhorse. ROLL HARD!
which is needed to process all jobs and parts. “The difficult part about being so far away from all of the sections would be the lack of communication,” Say CPL Velasquez, Training room NCOIC. Since there is no internet service in the motor pool, the usage of cell phones will be beneficial toward communication between the sections located in the motor pool and the rest of Bravo Company. Although there may be differing opinions on the move to the
new expansion the Bravo Company Commander, CPT Rich Jones believes that there are more pros than cons. “If you improve the work environment of the Soldiers, you are therefore improving their quality of life.” The Soldiers who are concerned with the distance should not fret, Bravo Company intends on moving closer to the new expansion in the near future, once there are tents and internet set up.
By 1LT Christine Breckenridge, Alpha Company, 204th BSB Unit Public Affairs Representative
K AN D AH AR , Afghanistan— As most of the Alpha Company Assassins continue their hard work supporting Combined Task Force (CTF) Warhorse from Forward Operating Base (FOB) Walton, one team of highly motivated Soldiers has taken on the responsibility of handling logistical operations from Kandahar Airfield (KAF). When Alpha Company received the mission to control movement of Class (CL) IV (c ons tr uc t io n par ts ) , V (ammunition), IX (repair parts) as well as rolling stock (anything on wheels) out of KAF, we knew we would have to leave some of our best and brightest to complete this task. With confidence, Alpha Company chose ten NCOs and Soldiers to make up the team and hone their various Military Occupational Specialties (MOS). SFC Adell Jones, a 92F petroleum supply specialist, is
From Motor Pools new expansion would be the accumulation of parts due to the less frequent trips made into the shop office by the sections,” Says SPC Jeanene Jackson of PLL. PLL picks up so many parts daily that it is imperative that the sections come at least once a day to pick up their parts. PLL will not be moving into the motor pool due to not only the welfare of their equipment, which cannot function accurately in dust and dirt, but also the lack of connectivity to the internet,