SOUTHPORT, N.C. -- Dozens of 18-wheeled M915 tractor-trailers rolled into Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU) after a nearly 300-mile convoy from the North Carolina National Guard's 1450th Transportation Company headquarters in Lenoir beginning their annual training deployment for Operation Patriot Bandoleer, here on August 17, 2017.
The 78 Soldiers of the 1450th joined fellow South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky and Ohio National Guard troops for month-long multistate exercise transporting critical supplies to distribution points across the nation.
"We (1450th) have a lot of new Soldiers and they use what they learned," said the 1450th Commanding Officer, Army Capt. Brandon Liberator.
The convoy pulled up to the huge MOTSU railyard at the center of the base. Leaders lined up the vehicles in tight formation for the next day's operations. Soldiers swarmed around the trucks checking the 400 horsepower engines, lights, tires and other systems. Afterwards, Soldiers gathered for a brief on tomorrow's mission, loading 20-foot ammunition shipping containers onto the truck trailers.
Early the next morning, teams drove to ammunition loading points. They meet with MOTSU crews and plan how to best safely load the containers. Drivers eased the trucks into position following the crews hand signals. The MOTSU personnel operated container loaders, a large heavy-duty forklift, lowering the containers carrying thousands of pounds of ammunition onto the trailers.
Soldiers slid metal pins into groves along the containers securing the loads to the trailers and completed safety checks before moving out. Soldiers walked in front of the trucks guiding them to back to the road for a quick trip back to the rail yard.
Over the next two weeks, the unit will convoy more than 3,000 miles delivering the critical supplies to locations in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. The convoys provided a unique training opportunity as well as a real world mission.
"Soldier would rather be on the road than just driving around Fort Bragg during annual training," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jennifer Maloy, a mobility officer with the North Carolina National Guard.
Army National Guard Soldiers during the exercise will transport more than 500 containers over many thousands of miles to distribution points across the country supporting Army Materiel Command operations.
<i> Story by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jordan