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Vehicle company steps up, moves out

Sep 2, 2009

By 13th Sustainment Command Expeditionary Public Affairs

CAMP TAJI, Iraq - On May 25, the "Hook and Book" Soldiers of the 1161st Transportation Company, a Washington National Guard unit out of Ephrata, Wash., arrived in Iraq as part of the 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade.

The 1161st, a palletized loading system vehicle company, received a new assignment upon their arriving at the 10th Sust. Brig. The unit accepted the challenge to step away from their PLS vehicles and transition to using the M915 tractor trailers to haul loads in theater.

The 1161st serves more than eight locations in Iraq including Victory Base Camp, Joint Base Balad, Camp Adder, Camp Kalsu and Camp Cedar.

In the 1161st's first 60 days, it conducted more than 70 missions and traveled more than 40,000 miles, sustaining no injuries during these missions. Capt. Leslie Jines Jr., a native of Selah, Wash., and the 1161st's Company commander, said safety is paramount in Iraq.

"Mission completion and safety of all Soldiers is my main goal for the 1161st during this deployment," Jines said. "One hundred percent of the unit will be combat lifesaver qualified and physically fit."

First Sgt. David Luther, a resident of West Richland, Wash., is on his second deployment with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"Building the team and mission accomplishment is my personal mission statement to my Soldiers," Luther said.

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Fisher, a native of Kirkland, Wash., is the unit's truckmaster and on his second deployment with the 1161st. He is in charge of ensuring all loads are checked and secured for every convoy leaving the 1161st motorpool.

Fisher also aids in mission preparation, monitoring missions while on the road and ensuring all departure and arrival times are met to keep the unit running on schedule.

"Basically, anything that involves our trucks and Soldiers comes through me," Fisher said.

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