Transportation support keeps Allied Strike 2011 rolling

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Michael Davis
  • 86 AW Public Affairs
Getting people where they need to go is no easy task when it involves nearly 350 U.S. and NATO servicemembers coming and going all day long. That is the challenge transportation personnel are tackling at Allied Strike 2011, Europe's premier Close Air Support exercise.

Each day of the exercise has been packed with training scenarios requiring different groups of personnel to be in various locations around Grafenwoehr Training Area. To make sure that everyone is where they need to be, when they need to be there, 11 drivers were brought in from the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 8th Air Support Operations Squadrons.

"The drivers here are from different locations and from a mix of career fields," said Tech. Sgt. John Robson, assistant transportation coordinator. "Everyone from communications to civil engineering and vehicle mechanics are helping move people."

At any given time, up to ten vehicles are transporting people and equipment to their respective locations. Six vehicles carrying the brunt of the load are Light Medium Tacticle Vehicles, or LMTVs, designed to carry large numbers of people over rough terrain.

"We brought these LMTV's down from Mannheim," said Senior Airman Larry King, a vehicle mechanic at the 4th ASOS. "We can transport 20 people plus their gear in the back and three people up front in the cab."

Airman King is the lowest ranking driver here, and he just earned his qualification to drive the LMTV at the start of Allied Strike. Since then, he has been working long days ensuring everyone is where they need to be, safely and on time. His hard work has not gone unnoticed.

"The Airmen are the backbone," said Sergeant Robson. "Some of them are starting their days at five o'clock in the morning and not getting done until midnight, and I have never heard them complain. We all understand the mission and its importance. If we don't do our job, the whole exercise comes to a stop."

Allied Strike also offers the drivers more than just the chance to hone their driving skills. Many are also taking part in some of the exercise training lanes.

"The training that goes on here is not only for the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers," said Sergeant Robson. "There are training lanes for the support personnel as well. Some of the drivers are participating in things like convoy driving and advanced weapons handling."

The training has been reciprocal, with drivers providing familiarization training on the Humvee and LMTV.

"It's great to tap into the resources we have here in the exercise," said Lt. Col. Jon Berry, exercise director and commander of the 4th Air Support Operations Squadron. "Transportation has been critical to the success of the exercise - everyone has really been a team player."