NEWS | April 18, 2019

Soldiers Take to Utah Highways

By Lt. Col. Choli Ence JFHQ, UTNG

 Soldiers from Forward Support Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Alpha), conducted convoy operations, March 9-10, 2019, in perpetration for their upcoming training exercise in Canada.

                The convoy operations provided the Soldiers and leadership with an accurate assessment of the equipment capabilities and the potential mechanical issues likely to occur during the 1,300-mile trip to Canada to deliver the logistical supplies and equipment needed for the exercise Maple Resolve 19.

                Staff Sgt. Joshua Hankins, Recovery Sergeant, Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic from Lehi emphasized the importance of the convoy operations in providing him with vital information on both the capabilities and limitations of each vehicle.

                Pushing our vehicles to their absolute limit, helps us to “determine what will go out first and if they can even make the trip to Canada,” said Hankins. He further added, “the training is also helping me to develop an inventory of parts that might be needed during the trip.”

                Although the convoy operations across Utah highways helped leadership plan and prepare for the upcoming long-haul trip, it also exposed new Soldiers in the unit to long-distance convoy operations.

                For Pfc. Calvin Tew, a Petroleum Supply Specialist from Orem, this was his first time driving long distance in a military vehicle.

“It’s a lot better to practice it now than just hop in a truck and drive to Canada for the very first time driving one of them,” said Tew.

                Tew was optimistic of the training and lauded the opportunity to “prepare for future annual training where longer convoys are going to take place.”

                The Convoy Commander, Staff Sgt. Andrew Shephard, Distribution Platoon Sergeant from Spanish Fork, explained Utah highways provided an excellent opportunity to expose Soldiers to every type of terrain, different weather conditions, grades, slopes, mountain and desert areas.

                Despite changes to the route from winter road closures, Shephard estimated the convoy will have driven more than 300 miles by the end of the training.