204TH BRIGADE SUPPORT BATTALION Rough Rider Connection V O L U M E I , I S S U E 1 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1 Greetings from Fort Polk, LA. As I write this I’m outfittedSPECIAL POINTS OF with my protective equipment on as we just experienced aINTEREST: simulated artillery attack here on Forward Operating Base (FOB) FORGE. The training experience here at JRTC has been tremendous and our A Message from RR6 Soldiers continue to excel and grow in confidence everyday. The training situations presented to our Soldiers range from local vendors asking to move onto FOB FORGE Rough Riders’ Eyes in the to talking to local religious leaders about village issues like schools unfit for learning Sky and water unfit for drinking. We also get our share of opposing force (OPFOR) activ- ity that normally requires our Soldiers to fire blank ammunition that triggers our elec- Town Hall Meeting with tronic Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) gear to go off signifying Families via VTC an injury or hit. Ministry Team Training All of our companies are receiving phenomenal training in their specific areas of ex- Assassins Training pertise with Alpha Company running a world-class field warehouse, Bravo Company running their various maintenance shops, and Charlie Company providing excellent Bravo Company Training medical care for all our Soldiers. The Headquarters Company and the Battalion Staff receive many complex problems to solve. The staff is working many hours planning Keeping the Rough Riders and directing the companies to achieve mission after mission. Safe and Informed Our Soldiers got to work immediately upon the arrival of our equipment. We set up Medical Evacuation the Battalion Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and the Company’s Command Posts Training (CP’s) and received gear that was repositioned such as trucks and water buffaloes. The weather was some of the coldest seen in Louisiana, but our Soldiers stuck Photo Corner through it and continued to prepare for the world-class training the Rough Riders were about to receive.Contributors:1LT Betsy Arndt While some were setting up, others were receiving pre-rotational training which in-Battalion Public Affairs Officer cluded improvised explosive device (IED) awareness, Command Post of the Future (CPoF), Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS), Hand-held Interagency DetectionCongratulations to 1LT’s Equipment and Electronic Warfare Officer training, to name a few. The situationalMeghan and Christopher Hou- training exercises (STX) were extremely valuable, as it placed our Soldiers out on convoys and forced them to face many realistic scenarios such as IED defeat, en-sel on the birth of their baby, gagements with local villages and damaged vehicle recovery.Parker!1LT Meghan Housel was the As we conduct our training we would like to thank our loved ones at home who areprevious editor of the Rough completing the real tasks of life. We appreciate your continued support.Rider Connection. Scott P. Dugan Todd S. Bertulis CSM, USA LTC, LG Command Sergeant Major Commanding This newsletter contains official and unofficial information. The inclusion of some unofficial information in this newsletter has not increased the cost to the Government, in accordance with DOD 4525.8-M
PAGE 2Photos and stories The Rough Riders’ Eyes in the Sky on this page by SGT Joseph Guiterrez, Noncommis-1LT Betsy Arndt, sioned Officer in Charge of the 204th BSB’s204th BSB Public S2 (Intelligence) and PFC Gregory Affairs Officer Miles of the Battalion’s CoIST (see page 4) successfully launched the Raven on February 14, 2011 at 1:12 p.m. (CST). The Raven is a small hand-launched remote-controlled un- manned aerial vehicle and can be flown at a height of up to 10,000 feet above ground and is very quiet which makes it difficult for the enemy to detect. The device is capable of providing live video feed to a com- puter on the ground as well as still photographs and only weighs about 4.2 lbs. The video and photographs can be used to analyze areas of interest and also to instantly view activities happening on the ground. The camera also has the ability to record through infrared night vision. The Raven system has been in use for over 10 years and is utilized by all of the branches in the U.S. Armed Forces as well as over 10 other countries. LTC Bertulis and CSM Dugan, along with the 204th BSB’s ANA partners, LTC Zad- ran and MAJ Panshir Commander and Executive Officer of the 5/4/205th Combat Left to right: CSM Scott Dugan, LTC Todd Bertulis, Service Support (CSS) Battalion with the LTC Arman Jahangir Khan Zadran & MAJ Panshir Afghanistan National Army (ANA) met with family members of the Rough Rider Sol- diers on Tuesday night (February 15, 2011) via a video teleconference (VTC). The main topic of discussion was the training that the Soldiers of the 204th BSB have been experiencing at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Ft. Polk, LA. More than 70 photographs were discussed through a PowerPoint presentation captured by Rough Rider Soldiers that were on the ground receiving the training. Rough Rider 6 also mentioned the trainer/mentors (T/M’s) that assist leaders and Soldiers of the battalion and offer a different perspective. The T/M’s watch every move and decision that is made and later provide feedback as to what can be tried next time or considerations to think of that might be helpful. The T/M’s are trained professionals that have the job of help- ing units “iron out the wrinkles” and prepare for deployment. Although they don’t claim to provide all the right answers and easy fixes, they help in any way that they can to make our unit successful. Completing this VTC will help the unit prepare for deployment and the difficulties that will come. LTC Bertulis concluded the VTC with a video that was made during the Unit Ministry Team and Personal Security Detail (see page3) which Chaplain (CPT) Payne explained to the Rough Rider Family. The VTC ended with final questions and a thanks to all of the sup- port back in Fort Carson.
VOLUME I, ISSUE 1 PAGE 3 Story by Chaplain (CPT) lah who was not friendly. The en- Joel W. Payne, 204th BSB gagement went well but the town JRTC– Ft. Polk, LA was not secure and once again the PSD had to perform an emergency On February 11, 2011 the 204th evacuation to a secure location. Brigade Support Battalion com- pleted training with the Unit Min- At JRTC the training is conducted istry Team (UMT) and Personal and evaluated by Trainer/Mentor Security Detail focused on Reli- teams who are present during the gious Leader Liaison. The pur- lanes and evaluate our teams fol- pose of the lane was to escort lowing the training in order to give the Chaplain and Chaplain As- pointers and suggestions for how to sistant via the Personal Security operate in the future. For the UMT/ Detail (PSD) in order to conduct PSD lane the Trainer/Mentor team Religious Leader Liaisons (RLL) PSD escorted the Chaplain into the remarked that our PSD was out- with local religious leaders. Key ar- village to meet with the local Mullah (a standing and they were amazed by eas of training included meeting and religious leader) to discuss how we their ability to react quickly, especially developing good relationships with may help the local population and in evacuating and providing medical local Afghan leaders in the towns partner to provide long-term needs. attention to our soldiers who were “hit” and villages surrounding the areas After the engagement with the local during the exercise. The Trainer/ we may be located during deploy- Mullah the PSD escorted the Chaplain Mentors stated that in their opinion the ment. on foot to meet with the local leader of 204th Brigade Support Battalion was the Red Crescent (Afghanistan’s ver- well prepared and ready to deploy. The UMT/PSD training was con- sion of the Red Cross). During the ducted in two main phases that meeting with the Red Crescent leader The training conducted during the were designed to exercise the tacti- a sniper fired on the PSD and they UMT/PSD lane will be a valuable step- cal aspect of providing security to conducted an emergency evacuation ping stone to the real development of the Chaplain and the diplomatic of the Chaplain and team while pro- relationships with the Afghan people. aspect of engagement of the local viding medical attention to our These relationships will have the ability religious leaders. wounded. After the team arrived at a to affect change in Afghanistan through safe location the Chaplain facilitated a providing security, medical supplies, Phase one consisted of a tactical group session to work through the food, water and much needed local movement by the PSD of the Chap- events that had just passed. infrastructure. Through these engage- lain into a village where dozens of ments we will be able to work with the role players provided an extremely Phase two involved another RLL in a Afghan people toward a common goal realistic experience to train in. The different community with a local Mul- of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Assassins Prepare for Force on Force Story and photo by 2LT Christine Breckenridge As Alpha Company, 204th BSB, prepares to support the Warhorse Brigade during force on force training, they have already made steady accomplishments in resupply. The Alpha Company Assassins have ran 19 successful resupply missions to date, pushing over 47,590 gallons of fuel, 1,400 gallons of water, 500,000 rounds of ammo and over 1.5 tons of CL IV. Aside from daily missions, the dedicated sol-Alpha Company diers of A Co have been trained on multiple Combat Convoy lanes,Soldiers conduct IED Defeat lanes, Sling Load Training, ROE, and being part of a FLE. Sling Load Assassins, Roll Hard! Training
PAGE 4 Story by SGT Robert White 204th BSB Master Welder During JRTC Rotation 11-04, the Bravo Com- pany Black Knights’ Service & Recovery, or “REPO” Team, successfully completed theirPhotos by CPL Kimberly recovery situational training exercise lane. Sol- Velasquez — diers encountered small arms fire, indirect mor- Top: SPC Joshua Pam- tar fire, IEDs and RPGs. The newest members of the team were trained on the M2 .50 caliberploma, Bravo Company’s machine gun and served as gunners during the Interpreter engages a mission. The convoy commander and Service Team local Afghan. Shop Foreman, SSG Courtney Gaston, and the interpret- ers were also involved in a street level engagement, Center: SGT Joshua where they talked to local nationals and national security Cunha recovers a mire 2 forces. vehicle. SGT Joshua Cunha, the Recovery NCO and SGT Paul Burnside, the Heavy Mobility Expanded Tactical Truck Lower: SGT Courtney (HEMTT) wrecker team, also received great training Gaston oversees the re- while having to recover a civilian vehicle and a mire 2 (wheels on the vehicle are covered in mud and/or covery of a catastrophic water) vehicle. In addition, the M88’s crew had to lift kill of a MAXX PRO Mine a catastrophically disabled MAXX Pro Mine Resistant Resistant Armor Pro- Armor Protected (MRAP) vehicle so a lowboy tractor trailer could back under it. tected Vehicle (MRAP). There were some laughs shared during the after ac- tion review when the team was told that SSG Gaston and a Soldier decided to clear a building on their own. The trainer/mentors gave REPO suggestions for improvement and informed them on how to excel through their many strengths. Story by: It’s been a busy rotation for the “grease monkeys” in Bravo Company’s Maintenance Pla- toon. Upon hitting ground at JRTC, the hard working mechanics got to work setting up a SGT Thomas McShane, fully functional maintenance bay and inspection tent. Wet and freezing conditions over the Bravo Company, first few days made many vehicles difficult to start and to get off the rail cars which brought 204th BSB, 2BCT, 4ID them there. But despite the weather, Bravo’s mechanics were our there getting the vehi- cles on the move. As the weather gradually improved, some mechanics took advantage of the great training opportunities offered at JRTC. Others stayed “under the hoods” keeping the Battalion’s vehicles up and running. Classes in such topics as IED awareness, Afghanistan culture, and realistic IED and Vehicle Recovery training lanes kept the guys busy. The mechanics were also challenged with replacing an engine and a transmission on separate vehicles with limited resources in a field environment. As if that weren’t enough, Bravo’s hard work- ing mechanics also managed to complete over 18 vehicle services, and over 80 quality assurance/quality control inspections. Not to mention numerous complex vehicle repairs. During the Force-on Force portion of JRTC training, many of Bravo’s mechanics assisted in constructing a fully functional Entry Control Point (ECP). They also served in many posi- tions such as vehicle search teams, manning gun trucks, as well as gate and tower guards. The “grease monkeys” of Bravo’s Mech Platoon have been busy “getting’ after it” to say the least, training hard while keeping the vehicles of the 204th BSB up and ready for action.
PAGE 5 Keeping the Rough Riders Safe and Informed Story by an Anonymous Soldier in the 204th BSB The road is long, the night is cold, and the 204th BSB is on the roads ensuring our troops are able to fight the good fight. Our men and women are ready to deploy day or night to guarantee Soldiers have all they require In the Photo: The 204th BSB’s CoIST (Left to Right) PFC Gregory Miles, SGT Kalani- kaimakani Liana, PFC Jesus Ruvalcaba, 2LT John Cappiello, SGT Erik Callies, PFC and more in order to sustain an entire &brigade and more. With little more than a shrug Michael Johnson, PV2 Ryan ZanniMilitary Occupational and time to lace their boots the Rough Riders are ready to get into the fight as they are Specialties of the constantly monitoring the battlefield for those battalions, companies, and Soldiers that CoIST may need their assistance. Intelligence Analyst Officer Yet, in all the haze of battle, one important question remains: “Who watches the Watch- men”? Unlike other battalions, the Rough Rider Battalion traverses not only in one area Fuelers of operations, but also in the entire brigade area of operations. In addition, unlike a bri- gade, the Rough Rider Battalion only has about a quarter of the staff. As the Soldiers of Bradley and Abrams the 204th BSB prepare their convoys for tedious tracks across foreboding lands, who do Mechanics these heroes depend upon to help them combat the ominous intentions of evildoers? The Water Purification answer resides in the CoIST. Specialist The CoIST is a Company Intelligence Support Team tasked with the duty of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information to both the battalion staff members, as well as the Soldiers in the companies, platoons, and squads. The creation of these teams was spear- headed by General Petraeus as a way to combat the disconnect of information flow that stemmed from battalions, brigades, and even division level sources down to Soldiers on the frontlines. The CoIST’s main purpose in a battalion is to facilitate the situational awareness and understanding of the battlefield company commanders, platoon leaders, or even a service member straight out of training. During the JRTC exercise these six members of the Rough Rider CoIST team had the daunting task of providing detailed maps, routes, distances, times, battlefield updates, cultural aware- ness, and overall intelligence of the brigade area of operations. They provided our convoys with the most current intelligence that would help our Soldiers stay alert and safe while navigat- ing the massive training area at Ft Polk. These six men had to become experts in everything from what types of poisonous animals were in the area, to knowing every contour and shape on the roads; and all this information ready to brief to the Rough Rider Soldiers before most were even out of their cots. When asked how they felt about the long hours and whether they liked the training the consen- sus among the group was a resounding YES! To them the hours seemed to go by too fast as they always wanted to get just a few more things done. In their minds, the most meaningful aspect of their job was not the amount of time they worked. To them the most critical aspect of what they provided was the amount of time they would be giving back to Soldiers when they returned safely home to their families.
PAGE 6 Air Evacuation Training By SPC Daniel Baker, Charlie Company Medic from outside and makes it into a usable air system for pa- tients. Another feature the UH-60HH is equipped with is a new hoist system, similar to that em- ployed by the Air Force and Coast Guard, which is faster I t was a cool evening than that of the internal hoist after many hours of counterpart equipped by the training, and while other donts of loading litters into the older Black Hawks. The new companies were ending their patient cabin. No longer do car- hoist makes extrication easier day, Charlie Company of the ousels get loaded in the middle for all involved not only by 204th BSB was still hard at of the cabin. There are now speed, but mobility and capabili- work training hydraulic lifts on the two side ties, keeping the helicopter mov-“The only thing that could for the upcom- walls of the cabin, allowing for ing, making it a harder target for ing deploy- easy raising and lowering of enemies.have made [the training] ment. Their litter patients. The downside to Having the opportunity to inter-better would have been to neighbors and view a head member of the crew such a set-up is speed and easeactually be able to go for brothers-in- of loading patients from the at JRTC was an honor. He is a arms, the 1- ground to the helicopter and humbled individual, proud ofa ride!” - PFC Daniel Hill, 17th Cavalry downloading again. In interview- what he does; not only for hisone of the Medics of from Fort ing a member of the flight crew, country but for each Soldier he Bragg, NC in- the question was posed whether has the opportunity to help asCharlie Company. vited the med- the configuration is more favor- well. He lives for what he does, ics to the flight line to do some able now than before. The re- but admits it is an extremely diffi- training on the UH-60HH. The sponse was general, but the cult job. His advice for any 68W unique aspect about the train- overall feeling is that while there medic that cares to become a ing is that this helicopter hap- may be a downside, the equip- flight medic is to work hard, re- pens to be the newest bird of ment is great and the UH-60HH main dedicated and learn to do the fleet which has only been is most definitely an asset. In as much as you can on your in operation for about a month. fact, the UH-60HH is said to be own. On the Black Hawk, you On the approach to the flight the Cadillac as compared to its are the life line and the only one line, some of the new medics “Volkswagen” predecessor. in charge of getting your patient were in awe at the sight of the In the past, oxygen had to be to the destination alive. array of helicopters lined up: loaded with patients. If a spare Overall, the flight line training at Chinooks, Apaches, and the tank wasn’t provided, oxygen JRTC was a world-class experi- newest Black Hawk UH-60HH. supply could be an issue. This ence. The ability to learn on the The medics were like kids in a new bird is lavishly equipped new aircraft as they come out is candy store. As they ap- with an endless onboard oxygen a once in a lifetime opportunity proached, the flight crew wel- supply for patients, making it for many of those training at Ft. comed them and were eager easier to provide care by having Polk, LA. Every piece Charlie to train the malleable minds of one less thing to worry about. Med had the opportunity to learn medics. The system onboard that makes here as to the operation leads to As sunset approached, they this happen is a filtration and a smoother transition and patient were learning the do’s and generator system that takes air transaction while deployed.