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Jun 19
North Carolina National Guard Soldiers Perform Rail Load

FORT BRAGG, NC, UNITED STATES

06.04.2019

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jordan 

North Carolina National Guard

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Teams of North Carolina National Guard Soldiers from the 113th Sustainment Brigade (SB) and 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) prepared and loaded armored vehicles for cross-country rail transport to Fort Irwin, California for the ABCT's annual training deployment this summer at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, June 1, 2019.

This rail load is part of the third deployment of the nearly 4,200 Soldiers of the 30th ABCT since 2001 to Fort Irwin for the best, most current combat training available in the U.S. Army.

“It is a great feeling to be part of it, carrying all these vehicles,” said Spc. Derrick Eley, a truck driver assigned to the 1452nd Transportation Company, 113th SB.

The railyard was a hive of activity, convoys of 48-wheeled Heavy Equipment Transporter trucks from 1452nd. Each 50-foot trailer behind the massive 8-wheeled trucks carried 30th ABCT’s armored vehicles, either a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, an armored personnel carrier, Hercules Recovery Vehicle, an especially designed vehicle capable of towing other armored vehicles or a M1A1 Abrams main battle tank.

“It is so much, so many vehicles; it is a lot of firepower” said Spc. Abigail Uhrich, a Soldier assigned to the 113th Special Troops Battalion, 113th SB.

Once parked, drivers climbed aboard the armored vehicles, powered up the engines and drove off the trailers. Engines roared as the drivers followed the hand signals of Soldiers guiding the multiple ton vehicles across the yard to the waiting train cars. Team leaders arranged each vehicle for loading on train cars as officers track the day’s progress.

The final loading on the rail car was a 70-ton ballet. Drivers concentrated on the Soldier standing at the end of the railcar who guided the driver with careful hand signals. Slowly the caterpillar tracks clank along with little room to spare on each side of the flatcar. Each vehicle was inspected by teams of Soldiers with rulers, checking to the inch the proper placement on each car.

“It is amazing,” said Uhrich.

The 30th ABCT will transport more than 400 tracked vehicles and more than 1,000 wheeled vehicles for training at Fort Irwin, National Training Center in preparation for deployment overseas later this fall.

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