By CAPT. GUSTAVE LAFONTAINE
133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Train as you fight! This is a common battle cry among Citizen Soldiers as they hone their skills as a Soldier. It is used to inspire and motivate Soldiers to approach their training with the same focus that they would approach a real-world mission. And creative leaders find ways to make training as realistic as possible for the benefit of their units.
The leadership of the Kentucky Guard’s 2123rd Transportation Company discovered a way to train their Soldiers and also make a genuine contribution to the community.
Richmond, Ky., is home to the 2123rd and also the Bluegrass Army Depot. The Depot’s Qualified Recycling Program diverts recyclable waste from the site to various recycling facilities in the region. For two years, the 2123rd has used their annual training to assist the Depot and their recycling efforts.
Capt. Nelson Anglin has commanded the 2123rd during both of these missions. He outlined the impact this mission had on the community and his Soldiers.
“As a result of this partnership, our Soldiers have convoyed more than 60,000 miles and transported almost 2 millions pounds of recyclables to nearby recycling facilities. ”
The training is especially valuable for 2123rd because they have a large number of new Soldiers. According to Anglin, 60 percent of the company is completing their inaugural training with the unit. The 2123rd readiness NCO, Sgt. 1st Class Chad Bailey, said the training has been invaluable for their new Soldiers.
“The new Soldiers in the unit got a look into what a Citizen Soldier is. They got to see what the Guard does for the community.”
In addition to performing a service for the community, Soldiers got to train in a real-world mission.
“Not only did they get to a lot of drive time but they received experience in strap down procedures on different types of materials,” said Bailey.
“Our Soldiers were motivated and eager to experience realistic training. It was important for our new Soldiers to identify their role and how their mission supported the overall mission of the 2123rd Transportation Company,” said Anglin.
To execute this mission, Soldiers completed two convoys per day to recycling centers in Bedford, Ind., and Irvine, Ky. Their efforts have been a service to the Bluegrass Army Depot and the United States Army. Typically, recyclables are sent from the Depot via commercial transport at a significant cost to the Army. With the assistance of the 2123rd, the Bluegrass Army Depot was able to cut costs by more than $50,000 and divert funding back to the Depot and the Army.
Jason Brandenburg is in charge of the Depot’s Qualified Recycling Program and he said he was impressed with the actions and motivation of the Soldiers of the 2123rd.
“When the crops hit the ground the Soldiers were loading, strapping and getting stuff done,” he said. “Everyone was on a mission and they just took care of it.”
With the success of the past two years behind them, Anglin indicated that there are plans to execute this mission again in years to come.
“With budget cuts and sequestration, training opportunities in the future are going to require creative training plans. The collaborative effort between the Bluegrass Army Depot and our unit is a win win for the Army.”
“Training as you fight proved to be a valuable experience for the 2123rd Transportation Company,” concluded Bailey. “It instilled some pride for them and their unit.”