Army Reserve Soldiers simulate convoy operations at QLLEX

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Soldiers from the 431st Quartermaster Detachment out of Kinston, N.C. and the 430th Quartermaster Company out of Puerto Rico train on a reconfigurable vehicle tactical trainer simulator at Fort Bragg, N.C. June 13. Both units are providing fresh purified water in support of operations at the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Justin Snyder/Released)

Soldiers from the 431st Quartermaster Detachment out of Kinston, N.C. and the 430th Quartermaster Company out of Puerto Rico train on a reconfigurable vehicle tactical trainer simulator at Fort Bragg, N.C. June 13. Both units are providing fresh purified water in support of operations at the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Justin Snyder/Released)

By Pfc. Justin Snyder

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – When advance party Soldiers from the 431st Quartermaster Detachment arrived here in support of the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion, they came knowing they would be providing fresh, purified water in support of their surrounding operations.

They set up tents, hundreds of feet of hose, multiple water bags and quickly turned pond water into that suitable for drinking, showering and laundry.

“Since day one we have been working from the ground up to satisfy the needs of the QLLEX mission,” said Staff Sgt. Nikki Jones, a water treatment specialist with the 431st QM Det. out of Kinston, N.C. “We all have a specific goal to be proficient in our (jobs).”

However, while honing their job skills is important, in their down time the Soldiers have taken the opportunity to sharpen their basic Soldier skills by taking classes such as combat lifesaving.

On June 13, in partnership with Soldiers from the 430th Quartermaster Company from Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, the 431st QM Det. furthered their military education by practicing their tactics, techniques and procedures for convoy operations using the reconfigurable vehicle tactical trainer simulators here.

Four separate trailers house the simulators and allow for Soldiers to practice convoy operations in a virtual environment specifically designed to satisfy units’ needs.

Two trailers house real-sized simulated Humvees equipped with radio communications and virtual weaponry. Each vehicle has the ability to hold five soldiers.

The Humvee has the capability to be transformed into a military tanker for specific missions and is surrounded 360 degrees with screens that display a virtual town designed for different routes throughout Afghanistan and Iraq.

“It’s pretty realistic and a good opportunity for training,” said Spc. Thomas Watkins, a water treatment specialist with the 431st QM Det. “The simulators allow for me to be in multiple roles like convoy commander, gunner and driver. It will benefit us as Soldiers in the long run.”

A separate trailer is used for operations and allows for instructors to oversee the missions and make adjustments based on how the soldiers are reacting. The routes and scenarios are not limited and can be adjusted within seconds to accommodate the Soldiers. The fourth trailer houses equipment for maintenance purposes.

On this day the Soldiers simulated both a day and nighttime mission in 30-minute iterations. They were forced to compete for road space with local population, identify and react to improvised explosive devices and deal with indirect fire.

One of the main areas the Soldiers focused on improving was communicating using proper radio etiquette.

“Communication is key when it comes to anything,” said Watkins, a native of New Bern. “We are in here playing a game, but in the battlefield, the game is serious and can be the difference in life or death. That’s why proper communication is so important.”

Staff Sgt. Charlotte Burgos, 430th QM Co. Soldier and driver for the exercise, deployed to Iraq in 2005. While overseas she served as a convoy commander, and she believes the simulators provided a realistic scenario Soldiers can benefit from in the long run.

“Being inside the vehicle and having to use the radios to communicate took me back to being overseas,” said Burgos, a native of Carolina, Puerto Rico. “You can’t always see what is around you so you have to rely on your ears and communications to stay safe.

“The radio is the only thing that keeps you in contact with the Soldiers and vehicles in front of and behind you. Learning to use the radios and using proper lingo here is crucial in staying alive.”

Following the completion of the training scenarios, the Soldiers were able to view their virtual missions in trailer three and talk about how they can get better for future convoy operations.

As they return to their regular jobs and continue to support the QLLEX mission for its remaining time, the Soldiers believe they are better equipped for the chance they will be deployed.

“As an Army Reserve Soldier, you never know where life will call you,” said Jones, a native of Maysville. “The training here allows for the Soldiers to make mistakes and learn from it so they are prepared for the real deal downrange.

“I would recommend that other units put the simulators into their training plans,” she said. “It’s a great tool for learning and is efficient in showing Soldiers an important side of the Army.”

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Soldiers and Sailors intertwined at QLLEX

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By Spc. Miguel Alvarez

Navy Cmdr. Tracie Zielinki, a dental officer from the 4th Dental Battalion headquartered in Marietta, Ga., conducts teeth cleaning of a marine during the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise, operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion in Fort Bragg, N.C., June 13. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Miguel Alvarez/Released)

Navy Cmdr. Tracie Zielinski, a dental officer from the 4th Dental Battalion headquartered in Marietta, Ga., conducts teeth cleaning of a marine during the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise, operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion in Fort Bragg, N.C., June 13. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Miguel Alvarez/Released)

Fort Bragg, N.C. –Sailors, being used to working with Marines, always address others by their full rank, and expect similar treatment, as opposed to enlisted Soldiers who are usually content with “sergeant.”

These are just some of the minor cultural differences between Soldiers and Sailors. The two services meshed well, however, where it mattered most – getting the job done.

Sailors and Soldiers came together to participate in the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here.

While waiting on a late shipment, Sailors connected with Army Reserve medics to obtain the supplies they needed, said Petty Officer 2nd Class John Christian, a hospital corpsman with the 6th Engineer Support Battalion, based in Green Bay, Wis.

“QLLEX is helpful for us to achieve our mission,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Annmarie Wilson, a hospital corpsman for the 4th Dental Battalion headquartered in Marietta, Ga.

Wilson a native of Buford, Ga., said her units mission during QLLEX is to keep Marines and Soldiers prepared for deployment.

The 4th DB is scheduled to provide dental cleaning and x-rays for Marines and Soldiers during QLLEX.

“We also need to be prepared and refresh our job skills as well,” said Wilson. “This hands on training allows us to teach our newer soldiers.”

While not exactly what Sailors might have overseas, setting up a battalion aid station (BAS) provides them excellent training and opportunities to think on their own, said Christian, native of Appleton, Wis.

Christian recently achieved his rank and is the NCOIC of the BAS. QLLEX provides him an opportunity to have more responsibility and learn his and his Sailors capabilities.

Working with Army Reserve Soldiers has provided amenities Sailors and Marines aren’t accustomed to in the field, such as shower facilities and hot meals, said Christian.

“We usually just take ‘baby-wipe bathes,’” Christian said. “It’s hard not showering or getting hot meals. We were here for three days before the showers were ready, but that first shower was awesome. It raises morale for sure.”

“It is great that we participate in this exercise,” said Wilson. “When we get deployed we will all have to help and support each other.”

Combat lifesaving for the force

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By Sgt. Dalton Smith

Soldiers of the 431st Quartermaster Detachment, based out of Kinston, N.C., insert a nasopharyngeal airway into a mannequin casualty during their tactical combat lifesaver recertification course at the Medical Simulation Training Center, in Fort Bragg, N.C., June 11. The 431st QM Det. participates in these real-life medical simulations as part of the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Dalton Smith/Released)

Soldiers of the 431st Quartermaster Detachment, based out of Kinston, N.C., insert a nasopharyngeal airway into a mannequin casualty during their tactical combat lifesaver recertification course at the Medical Simulation Training Center, in Fort Bragg, N.C., June 11. The 431st QM Det. participates in these real-life medical simulations as part of the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Dalton Smith/Released)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Whether you are infantry, a medic or a quartermaster Soldier, the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC) can provide any medical training required by the Army, plus a little more.

The 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here, involves Soldiers of a variety of jobs, including water purification specialists, shower/laundry and clothing repair specialists, food service specialists and petroleum supply specialists. As non-combat, non-medical professions, these Soldiers have every reason to go through their combat lifesaver (CLS) recertification course.

The four-day CLS course incorporated many simulated distractions that will make the Soldiers distraught and confused, simulating combat stress for extreme medical situations.

“Medical training is a diminishing skill that requires a constant refresher for non-medics in the Army,” said Master Sgt. Jeff Bell, of Fayetteville, a special operations combat medic with the XVIII Airborne Corps. “It’s about maintaining and sustaining these important proficiencies.”

There are 18 MSTC facilities both inside and out of the contiguous United States and offer a wide variety of courses for medical and non-medical personnel, including Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard units. Their goal is to better prepare Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines for the application of medical interventions under combat conditions.

Some of the courses offered on the 275 acres here are: Dragon First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician – Basic, Combat Lifesaver, Medic Table VIII and Medic Leadership.

“This place rocks,” said Bell, “We need more facilities like these due to the advanced and amazing services.”

Instructors only coach the Soldiers where to go while in the field. How they get there and how they react to anything that may occur is up to the leaders assigned in the groups. The instructors will also yell at the Soldiers to force them to work at a faster pace to add to the stress of performing CLS under simulated conditions.
“It is very hands-on here with little classroom work,” said Benjamin Smith, of Fayetteville, a civilian contractor for the MSTC. “There shouldn’t be anymore small unit trainings in a motor pool or office, they should train right and bring it to the subject matter experts.”
Smith said that when the Soldiers are deployed and doing their job, the enemy will still shoot at them no matter their job. The quartermasters here for QLLEX will have to be able to perform medical services to injured troops overseas when deployed, and Smith hopes to have them prepared for it.

“It’s important that every Soldier can step up in a time of need,” said Spc. Emon Taylor, a water treatment specialist with the 431st Quartermaster Detachment. “They provide us with every opportunity to learn here. I like all the lanes. It’s different situations on different lanes, and they are all equally important.”

Army Reserve QLLEX Soldiers get combat lifesaver training

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By Pfc. Justin Snyder

Spc. Derral Whatley, a water treatment specialist with the 431st Quartermaster Detachment and a native of Norfolk, Va., climbs over a wall obstacle during lanes training as part of a combat lifesaver training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., June 11. The 431st QM Detachment Soldiers are here providing fresh purified water in support of operations at the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Justin Snyder/Released)

Spc. Derral Whatley, a water treatment specialist with the 431st Quartermaster Detachment and a native of Norfolk, Va., climbs over a wall obstacle during lanes training as part of a combat lifesaver training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., June 11. The 431st QM Detachment Soldiers are here providing fresh purified water in support of operations at the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Justin Snyder/Released)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Sirens wailed and smoke poured from the undercarriage of a broken-down Army Humvee. Soldiers equipped with first aid equipment rushed frantically to the scene in an attempt to save their fellow Soldiers’ lives.

All havoc broke loose as they began to take incoming fire while providing treatment with tourniquets, bandages and nasopharyngeal tubes.

Suddenly, amidst the chaos, an instructor shouted “End Ex,” the common military phrase for everyone to stop and gather to discuss their work.

Lucky for them, this was only training. Instead of anxiously awaiting a helicopter to land and evacuate the wounded, the Soldiers began cleaning up the site and preparing to move to the next lane.

“What a rush, but thank goodness this is only training,” said Spc. Derral Whatley, a water treatment specialist with the 431st Quartermaster Detachment. “I can only imagine how crazy it’d be on a real battlefield.”

Five Soldiers with the 431st QM Detachment, while supporting the 2014 Quartermaster Liquids Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here, took time out of their busy schedules to take part in a combat lifesaver (CLS) refresher course being offered.

Throughout the last week, the water treatment and purification specialists have been honing their skills while supporting QLLEX.

QLLEX is the only multi-component, multi-service, multi-echelon and multifunctional training exercise. Reserve units from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corp train in petroleum oil and lubricant exercises while producing thousands of gallons of purified water to be spread throughout the area of operations for use.

However, when approached with the opportunity to refresh their individual Soldier skills and to take part in the CLS refresher, the quartermaster Soldiers jumped at the opportunity.

“Our guys have worked really hard since arriving at Fort Bragg to accomplish the mission of supporting the QLLEX operations,” said Whatley, a native of Norfolk, Va. “Though, when in the field, you have to be a Soldier first, and that involves knowing how to take fire and provide basic first aid to my battle buddies. That’s why I wanted to get certified. I want that notch in my belt and to become a more complete Soldier.”

The CLS refresher is a four-day course offered on Fort Bragg at the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC). The first two days consist completely of classroom instruction and allows Soldiers to brush up on their knowledge of basic field medical operations.

The third day of the course is almost entirely performed in three separate training lanes located throughout the MSTC and simulates various situations that could take place on the battlefield.

Lane one provided a simulation focused on improvised explosive device awareness consisting of various explosions, sounds and situations. After assessing the scene and providing initial treatment to dummies, Soldiers head inside to a mock village where they encounter several scenarios amidst darkness, strobe lights and various levels of chaos.

Lane two forced Soldiers to communicate with each other while having to crawl under barbed wire with CLS kits, climb over walls and walk up and down hills and through jungle-like valleys before getting equipped with carbon-dioxide-powered paintball guns. The Soldiers entered a mock village by foot and provided medical attention to injured dummies throughout the town while taking and returning direct fire.

The final lane simulated a downed aircraft and required Soldiers to call in a 9-line medevac while providing first aid treatment to dummies scattered throughout the area.

“It’s important that every Soldier can step up in a time of need,” said Spc. Emon Taylor, 431st QM Detachment water treatment specialist. “They provide us with every opportunity to learn here. I like all the lanes. It’s different situations on different lanes, and they are all equally important.”

The fourth day of the class has the Soldiers taking a written test as well as being evaluated by the instructors for proper technique and skills.

While Soldiers with the 431st QM Detachment are thankful for the chance to learn a different skill than their everyday job, they believe the training served as a morale booster.

“Sometimes it can get a little mundane being a quartermaster Soldier,” said Emon, a native of Greenville. “To be able to get out and get some Army high speed training and get dirty, it’s a lot of fun. I mean, who doesn’t love shooting paintball guns?”

As they return to their unit and continue to provide fresh, purified water to the surrounding operations for the remaining duration of QLLEX, the Soldiers believe their new-found CLS knowledge can benefit them in completing the mission and will make them more complete Soldiers.

“It’s hot out here in the field, and you never know when you’re going to be called into action,” said Whatley. “Real quick, something minor can turn into something major without the proper medical attention. I’m proud knowing I can be there in every aspect for my fellow Soldiers, so we can all be successful.”

Fuel delivery extends 2014 QLLEX reach

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By Spc. Miguel Alvarez

Army Reserve fuel trucks participating in the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion, drive to deliver fuel outside Fort Bragg, N.C., June 10, 2014. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Miguel Alvarez/Released)

Army Reserve fuel trucks participating in the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion, drive to deliver fuel outside Fort Bragg, N.C., June 10, 2014. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Miguel Alvarez/Released)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The long hours that a driver puts in on the road helps them build bonds with their comrades and with all the individuals they meet at their delivery points.

“You have to be a people person to do this job,” said Staff Sgt. Ramon Delgado, acting convoy commander for the 773rd Transportation Company, from Fort Totten, New York.

Soldiers with the 773rd TC are delivering fuel to multiple military installations throughout North Carolina during the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here.

The Soldiers are expected to deliver fuel during QLLEX from Selma to Mackall Auxiliary Airfield Airport, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Marine Corps Air Station New River, and to reservists here.

Delgado, a native of the Bronx, N.Y., said he believes being a part of QLLEX gives soldiers that are delivering fuel the realization that their jobs require working with others.

“I hope Soldiers realize when they work with each other, Soldiers from different units and other branches of service that it is one team, one fight,” said Delgado.

“This training exercise also allows other Soldiers to see the importance of our jobs,” said Sgt. Oscar Alvarez, a motor transport operator, for the 773rd TC.

Alvarez a native of Queens, N.Y., said he sees QLLEX as a moment for everyone involved to see that there are multiple pieces of the puzzle, and they are all important for mission success.

This training offers soldiers an opportunity to participate in a rewarding experience that is very similar to what they will encounter overseas, said Delgado.

“QLLEX is essential because it allows you to participate in missions that give us hands on training,” said Staff Sgt. Jarell Wells, a motor transport operator for the 319th Transportation Company, from Augusta, Georgia.

Delgado said he hopes newer soldiers begin to realize their love for the job like he has.

“They have to accept the good and the tough of the job,” said Delgado. “In the end they will realize this job is very rewarding.”

Army Reserve Soldiers keep the mission rolling

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By Sgt. Michael T. Crawford, 354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

Sgt. Gabriel Medrano, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 773rd Transportation Company, based in Fort Totten N.Y., repairs a diesel engine during the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here, at Fort Bragg, N.C. June 11, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael T. Crawford/Released)

Sgt. Gabriel Medrano, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 773rd Transportation Company, based in Fort Totten N.Y., repairs a diesel engine during the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here, at Fort Bragg, N.C. June 11, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael T. Crawford/Released)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Mechanics from the 319th Transportation Company, the 414th Transportation Company, and the 773rd Transportation Company have joined together to provide support for the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here, June 11.

Pfc. Joel Jackson, a light-wheeled mechanic with the 319th TC, based in Augusta, Ga., said training with different units gives him a chance to see the big picture and enhance his job skills.

“It’s more than just us down in Georgia,” said Jackson, a native of Columbus, S.C. “Everyone has their tricks of the trade. Different unit, different services, but we’re all pushing the same mission forward.”

Pushing that mission takes a bit of coordination combined with a readiness to act on the fly. Spc. Jason Walker, a light-wheeled mechanic with the 414th TC, said that even with plans, day-to-day activities are never the same. Regular maintenance checks can catch most things, but until a convoy is loaded and ready, there’s no guarantee everything will run smoothly.

“We prioritize jobs like a triage, but if a convoy breaks, you’ve got to roll out to keep the mission rolling,” said Walker, a native of Norway, S.C. “It would be a very short mission without us, so it’s nice to be able to fix something and know you’re the one to keep the mission going.”

Keeping the mission going is often made easier thanks to the multiple skill sets Army Reserve Soldiers possess, thanks to their civilian lives. According to Chief Warrant Officer Robert Bethany, an automotive maintenance warrant officer with the 414th TC, civilian job skills can save time and fill gaps in personnel when Soldiers are away on other missions.

Spc. Carlos Falconi, a light-wheeled mechanic with the 773rd TC, based in Fort Totten, N.Y., said being part of QLLEX has given him a daily opportunity to learn something new. “Last AT was just a unit mission,” said Falconi, a native of Secaucaus, N.J. “I said I would take something new home with me, and I met that goal on the first day.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “It really is one Army.”

Preparing for Q-Day

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By Sgt. Dalton Smith, 354th MPAD

Motor transportation operators, with the 773rd Transportation Company, based out of Queens, N.Y., inspect their fuel lines before their Q-Day (Quality Day) inspection for the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here, in Fort Bragg, N.C., June 8, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Dalton Smith/Released)

Motor transportation operators, with the 773rd Transportation Company, based out of Queens, N.Y., inspect their fuel lines before their Q-Day (Quality Day) inspection for the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here, in Fort Bragg, N.C., June 8, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Dalton Smith/Released)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Soldiers of the 773rd Transportation Company prepared their trucks for Quality Day, or Q-Day, during the 2014 Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise (QLLEX), operationally controlled by the 633rd Quartermaster Battalion here, June 9.

Motor transport operators with the 773rd TC, based in Queens, N.Y., cleaned all of their trailer tanks and hoses, hung the correct hazardous material placards on trailers, checked to make sure all lights were working on the trucks and ensured all rubber gaskets had not dry rotted.

“We will be working at the highest standards of safety and cleanliness for the communities we will be traveling through,” said Sgt. William Garcia, a motor transport operator with the 773rd TC. “Making sure there is no dirt or rust in the fuel tanks or hoses is the hardest part.”

Q-Day sets a high standard quality check that inspects the trucks, trailers and hoses of the 773rd TC before civilian contractors are allowed to fill up the trucks with fuel.

Q-Day is a day-long process requiring the drivers to wake up at early hours, drive long distances and wait in long lines. It will be a hurry up and wait kind of day, due to trucks breaking down during the convoy, said Sgt. 1st Class Ragendra Chandan, a motor transport operator with the 773rd TC.

“Our usual fuel missions send us out in small groups to satellite locations to provide fuel to local customers,” said Chandan, a native of Queens, N.Y. “This year at QLLEX we are merging everyone together and building teams to do mass convoys to select locations to deliver bulk amounts of fuel at once.”

Chandan said it is essential for their Soldiers to go on these mass convoys to refresh their knowledge of their equipment and how to work with civilians. QLLEX allows them to learn more rules and how to work at a high standard.

“Safety is our priority for this exercise,” said Spc. Rafael Marmolejos, a motor transport operator with the 773rd TC. “Our newer Soldiers have not worked around these trucks as much as us older drivers, and we will be placing our more experienced drivers with them.”

“By working with other transportation units, we will help each other prepare for the inspection and train to operate as one large group,” said Garcia.

Besides trucks being inspected for quality and teaching new Soldiers proper safety techniques, the drivers of the 773rd TC’s main mission will be recovering fuel from civilian contractors from different, far away towns. Once they have recovered the fuel, they will bring it back to Army and Marine Reserve fuel specialists to fill up their fuel bags for additional missions.

The rest of the missions for QLLEX would not be possible without the pass on inspection of Q-Day, said Chandan. Making this one of the most important days of the exercise.

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