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BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan Somewhere up beyond the treacherous mountain tunnel, a unit at a remote outpost was getting low on supplies. The group about to deliver those supplies was at a motor pool at Bagram Air Field, running through an extensive checklist prior to making a run up that way.
Scarce suppliesFrohm began his pre brief by emphasizing that the Combat Outpost that they were heading to COP Khilagay up in the 10th Mountain Division area is very remote. He told his soldiers the folks up there were willing to share anything, so don't take advantage. The unit at Khilagay gets resupplied only once a month, and it could be longer if weather is a factor, or if the enemy situation slows the train.
The tunnelThe Salang Tunnel would await them at about the halfway point almost two miles of cramped, rutted, debris strewn darkness. "Don't let (the HNTs) double stack," Heisey warned. The exhaust system in the tunnel doesn't work, so there's a carbon monoxide threat.
Sleep aids are available from the medics, he reminded them.
"If an ANA point is abandoned," Heisey said, "be aware." He reminded the group that Omega Watch Winder Box Price
"If you're in a Max Pro (another type of MRAP), you're OK; if you're in a MATV, you're not."
Afghan army and police uniforms were available everywhere. The ANA is the controlling force for the tunnel, so the potential was there for a confusing situation.
There were a couple of other packing list reminders, such as, "If you don't want to live off MREs for three days, bring your own food," and then the group went into their battle drills, lining up crew by crew to recite actions in the event of just about anything that could be thought of.
He then stressed a few other important things to stay focused on: Keep pushing. If there's a breakdown, don't let the trucks stack two or three wide. Remember there are six switchbacks, so be aware of your brakes and don't let the HNT's lose theirs.
The soldiers had to recite what Omega Speedmaster On The Moon
True, that threat is mitigated on most occasions by route clearance teams whose job it is to make sure the main artery keeps pumping the blood of commerce and logistics. And the men and women of 101st Special Troops Battalion Personal Security Detachment that do route recons add another layer of reassurance.
Spc. Lindsay Omlor, a driver who will be piloting an M ATV, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle, took her place in the bleachers with fellow crew members. Her confidence was high, and when she openly attested to her own skill, no one disputed her. By now, the skill of all of these drivers was a matter of record, tested against roads and terrain that don't grade on a curve.
they would do in case of a breakdown, a host nation truck breakdown, a breakdown in the tunnel; an improvised explosive device going off on the lead vehicle, the rear vehicle, your vehicle; a rollover, an ambush, an unexpected stop. .
The men and women of the 131st Transportation Company of the Pennsylvania National Guard who were getting ready to make that run knew the deal. This wasn't your usual delivery. There are no usual deliveries in a country where the main highways wouldn't pass for a county backroad.
herding a bunch of host nation trucks through congested streets and up the narrow, semi paved goat track referred to as a highway, nothing is sure, nothing is easy, and nothing is taken for granted.
But as the platoon sergeant for these truckers knows, once you are out on the road, Omega Speedmaster Professional Man On The Moon
The soldiers were told the attack threat was real all the way up. The Taliban was already pushing south as part of the announced spring offensive. And they had revenge for Osama bin Laden as an extra motivator. Heisey reminded the soldiers about the rocket attack on Bagram the night before.
Up at the top, at 12,500 feet, the air is thin. It's a serious problem, and carbon monoxide poisoning only compounds it.
The kill zoneIf Heisey hadn't gotten their attention yet, his next words fixed that. Intelligence indicated this run might be more dangerous than most. Therefore, to the usual drill of driving through the kill zone he added, "We will kill whoever tries to shoot at us." In other words, the usual cautions about the use of weapons were being altered by the situation.
Drills, double checksFrohm and his assistant, Staff Sgt. Timothy Heisey, double checked the manifest and the serial numbers of all personal equipment. And even though it was early May, Frohm made it mandatory to bring sleeping bags. There was still snow on the ground where they were going.
"Last night," he said, "was an indication of how they're feeling."
The platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Frohm, leaves nothing to chance. The drivers and crews will inspect their vehicles for the slightest defect. Weapons maintenance checks will be done Omega Seamaster 300m Professional Chronometer until everything is right. Battle drills will be rehearsed until everyone can spout them in their sleep. And speaking of sleep, since the convoy is expected to take off at oh dark thirty, his sergeants will make sure the soldiers are in bed by 1800.
Regarding the HNT's, or host nation trucks, that will be part of the convoy, Frohm stressed that breakdowns, a common occurrence since maintenance is not exactly up to Army standards among the locals, will not stop the train. There are extra trucks along for the purpose of switching up trailers. Drivers will have 15 minutes to "fix it or get left."
Beyond that, people had been observed near parts of the road dressed in Afghan National Army uniforms with no patches, doing pace counts.
The soldiers drivers, gunners, troop commanders listed their actions and were rated by their fellow soldiers. The platoon sergeant took part as well, getting a hearty laugh from the bleachers when he theatrically talked about taking out "bad guys" with "extreme prejudice."
Convoy readies for risky ride through Salang Tunnel
Heisey warned exposed gunners who man the grenade launchers and machine guns while standing in turrets to get inside if they felt sick.
That said, the group went into the briefing tent to do the manifest, get the latest intelligence and rehearse the battle drills again.
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