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"Dragon" platoon sustains mission

Sep 14, 2009

By Pfc. Adam Halleck, 1st BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div., MND-B

CAMP TAJI, Iraq - More often than not, the credit behind a combat unit's success is placed upon the Soldiers who conduct ground operations on a daily basis.

In reality a battalion is comprised of many different flowing parts, with each and every section being a vital asset. Arguably, one the more vital would be the Soldiers who make up the battalion's distribution platoon.

Long workdays, thousands of miles traveled and many sleepless nights go into a distribution mission, especially when a battalion is spread out in a combat environment. For the 40 distribution platoon Soldiers of Forward Support Company G, 1st "Dragon" Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, sustaining the mission of over five hundred Soldiers brings a sense of pride.

"For me the best part is when we bring supplies to a camp and the guys accept me for what I do to support their mission," said Selma, Ala. Native, Staff Sgt. James Tyus, a squad leader assigned to Forward Support Company G. "I definitely get that warm and fuzzy feeling when the Soldiers we support express their gratitude."

The platoon has logged an estimated 15,000 miles thus far in the "Dragons" Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment. At one point in the tour, the platoon was supporting Soldiers at three separate camps with distribution convoys three times a week; delivering everything from food to building materials, fuel, and ammunition.

"If you need it we'll bring it," explained Tyus, who has been in distribution for ten years. "Without the things we do the [Joint Security Stations] wouldn't be able to function."

Since the June 30, distribution has become a more crucial mission. With Soldiers more likely to be stationed at a rural camp instead of the self-sustaining super camps often found in the major cities, distribution convoys are more important than ever. Every camp has different needs. The goal of the distribution platoon is to meet a camp's needs efficiently and as quickly as possible.

"I can take a bunch of stuff to a camp, but if I bring things they don't need, it defeats the purpose," said Tyus. "If a unit is in dire need of supplies, my guys can push a convoy out within a few hours which would normally take 24 hours to 48 hours for us to prepare if we had a planned mission."

The platoon understands that their mission is to support the combat troops so that coordinating supply missions is not an extra stress for them, added Tyus.

For any unit, the role that distribution Soldiers play is important. Without the everyday equipment, ground troops couldn't function to the best of their ability. Even through the long work days and countless convoys required to sustain their mission, the distribution Soldiers love the jobs.

"It may be tiring but at the end of the day when we get our 'Thank yous,' and appreciation from the guys it makes our job worth it," said Springfield, Mo. native Spc. David Schepp, a vehicle driver assigned to Forward Support Company G. "I've learned that in the Army we all work as one. It's a good feeling to know my hard efforts give my battle buddies the extra comforts they need."

For a battalion like the "Dragons", a distribution platoon is essential. The 40 Soldiers who sustain the mission for over 500 "Dragon" troopers understand that they fill a fundamental role in the success of the battalion. With many miles and many supply missions to come, the satisfaction that the Soldiers of the distribution platoon receive in supporting the fight is sure to last.

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