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TF Rampant trains forward support company in recovery operations

May 23, 2013

By Capt. Sean Nice, 3rd Battalion, 364th Engineer Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West

MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- As our nation continues to support the War on Terror, we continue to call the National Guard to fill the gap for the active component Soldiers in theater.

The South Carolina National Guard's 122nd Forward Support Company mobilized to provide logistical support to their higher Headquarters, 122nd Engineer Battalion from Columbia, S.C., currently in Afghanistan.

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 364th Engineer Regiment, Task Force Rampant, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, recently conducted the validation training for the 122nd. The goal of TF Rampant was to emulate and conduct realistic training for deploying units.

A forward support company provides all the logistical requirements for the battalion, to include food, water, fuel, ammunition, mechanical repair, and distribution of equipment and personnel, among other tasks. These companies often perform logistical convoys.

TF Rampant has focused on observing/controlling and teaching/mentoring FSCs covering the tactical and technical aspects of company operations.

The maintenance platoon has a key task of recovering military equipment that becomes non-mission capable on the battlefield. TF Rampant has seen an array experience levels from unit to unit. In order to ensure all maintenance platoons that trained with TF Rampant leave with the same recovery operations skills, the regiment provided training that covers the technical and tactical aspects of recovery operations as well as several practical exercises.

The technical training was conducted by Master Sgt. Warner Stadler and Sgt. 1st. Class Joenar Abejon, TF Rampant noncommissioned officers. Stadler and Abejon use real pieces of equipment that FSCs experience and recover for the training exercise. They also covered basic-item towing via tow bars attached to technical combat recoveries.

Soldiers learned how to properly hook up tow bars to High-Mobility Multipurpose-Wheeled Vehicles and other like vehicles. They also learned how to use the stingray on the Heavy-Expanded Mobility Track Truck wrecker to properly tow a vehicle.

Stadler and Abejon took troops through the proper steps to recover items such as engines and transmissions that may have been displaced from an improved explosive device detonation. It also provided an opportunity for the drivers of recovery assets to get hours behind the wheel of their equipment.

'Many of the service members made comments throughout the training that the training was the best they had ever received and found the class to be very beneficial and realistic,' said Abejon.

The training gave troops an opportunity to develop solutions to real-world scenarios they're presented with during training here.

'Many of the training missions that we have the FSC execute challenge their technical expertise and tactical mindset. Most recovery experts are just that, recovery experts,' said Maj. Benjamin Kavanagh, TF Rampant executive officer. 'The challenge is helping them develop a recovery plan for a vehicle they have never seen in an unsecure area. The end state is that they begin to incorporate plans on how they can conduct recovery, pull security, and identify enemy indicators, all while minimizing Soldier exposure on the objective.'

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