4th Sustainment Brigade hosts own Operation Rising Star
By Sgt. 1st Class Chris Bridson
4th Sust. Bde. Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas– In the early hours of Nov. 20, 2013, Soldiers from the 154th Transportation Company, 49th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade waited in the company motorpool for their convoy brief before setting off on a 300 mile round trip along Central Texas roads to earn their driver’s license and qualify on the M-1075, or Palletized Loading System (PLS).
“Operation Rising Star is designed to get your trucks out on the road, get your new guys some experience, and get them licensed up,” said Staff Sgt. Ralph C. Williams Jr., the Truck Master for the 154th TC, and a native of Beaumont, Texas.
For the past couple of weeks, the men and women of the 154th TC were put through their paces at the Drivers Training Academy (DTA) learning how to competently handle various tactical vehicles before moving on to the PLS training.
“It’s (DTA) a 2-week course. They learn the Texas laws and they get familiar with the pieces of equipment that they are going to be going to. They also get licensed on the 1078 LMTV (Light Mobility Tactical Vehicle) and the Humvee coming straight out of DTA they get those licenses there,” added Williams.
Over the past few days, Williams and his Senior Driving Instructors (SDI) have made the trip to Rising Star multiple times and as a result they decided that this convoy and convoy brief will be run by the junior Noncommissioned Officers such as Cpl. James Schultz, a native of Chicago, and the convoy commander for this trip to Rising Star.
“We will be traveling in the dark for the majority of the route, so make sure you keep an eye out for animals that will be a hazard on the route,” said Schultz, as he conducted his convoy brief. “We encountered 3 black cows in the middle of the road the other night,” he added.
As soon as the convoy brief was over, the Soldiers headed out to their vehicles and conducted their final checks before heading out on the open road. The drivers and truck commanders check safety equipment, lights and hoses, and ensure that the trailers are connected properly before giving the convoy commander the “thumbs up.”
At the very back of the convoy is the Bobtail truck, or recovery vehicle, normally manned by experienced drivers and designated to move forward if needed to tow any disabled vehicle back to the motorpool.
“I will be in the Bobtail and we will be making sure that if anyone breaks down we can recover the vehicle and pick up the Soldiers,” said Spc. Esmeralda Ramirez, a native of Kerrville, Texas and a Motor Transport Operator with the 154th TC. “I have been driving vehicles in the Army for three years now.”
Ramirez recently transferred to the 154th TC from the 96th TC where she gained vital experience during a tour in Afghanistan and hopes that she can pass this experience on to the new Soldiers in her current unit.
With no major problems throughout the month’s training and ten newly licensed PLS drivers contributing to the success of Operation Rising Star, the men and women of the 154th Transportation Company are confident and ready to take on any task that the 4th Sustainment Brigade may be asked to carry out in defense of this great nation.
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