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Air Force-led convoy hands reins back to Soldiers

by Staff Sgt. Kevin Nichols
U.S. Central Command Air Forces News Team

1/30/2006 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- As the Air Force has taken on roles traditionally held by the Army, one of the most visible of those tasks has been convoy duty.

One of those Air Force-led convoys is ending its run and handing the reins back over to Soldiers. Their last convoy will be a certification run for the Soldiers who are taking over.

“We’re part of the five-gun-truck package,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Morin, a convoy commander with the 732nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Detachment 2632. He is in charge of anywhere from 10 to 30 vehicles on the road at one time.

“We provide security for the line-haulers who are taking cargo to the different forward-operating bases. We make sure everything gets safely to the FOB and then safely back,” he said.

Sergeant Morin, who is deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., is now taking the backseat on this convoy, while overseeing his Army counterpart.

“Things that I’m looking for are communication and teamwork,” Sergeant Morin said.

He said he will make sure the Soldier who replaces him will take charge and make good decisions while following standard operating procedures. Sergeant Morin said that while sitting in the backseat, it is easy to become “the backseat driver.”

“It’s hard not to be interjecting your own opinions into the way things are going,” Sergeant Morin said. “It’s hard to give up control. You get so used to automatically reacting to the situation. It’s all good, though. I’m enjoying it.”

The Airmen with the detachment deployed for six-month rotations, including two months of convoy training before arriving on station. Once in place, the Airmen got close with their “riding crew” and a new level of trust was formed.

“When you’re riding with a crew, you’re riding with them for so long that you’re doing everything with them,” said Staff Sgt. Frank Stibler, an assistant convoy commander. “You’re sleeping in the same bunks when you’re out on the road, you’re in the same vehicle, you eat at the same time -- there’s a close bond that you get with all the guys in your group.”

Even though the deactivation of Det. 2632 means Sergeant Stibler gets to go home, he said in a way he will miss doing the job and miss his brethren with whom he shared a piece of history.

“It’s an awesome thing to be a part of Air Force history,” he said.

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