Thursday, August 02, 2007
Breaking Track at COP Anvil
Track vehicles run on soft, deep sand, hot, sticky hardball and everything in between. The metal track has hard rubber pads that provide traction and keep the vehicles (usually M1 Abrams tanks and Bradleys--pictured here) from tearing up the roads. When the pads wear down, or when sections wear out before the whole, it's time to repair or replace track. This is always a dreaded task.
The elements can make the job even more challenging. (My first, personal experience with this was at Fort Knox, in November 1988. I was in Basic and Advanced Individual Training. We were conducting a night field exercise, and our tank threw track in the cold freezing mud. It took us several hours to fix the track. A few days later I was hospitalized with pneumonia.) In this particular case, the 120 degree heat can be just as daunting as freezing whether.
Pictured here are soldiers from Red Platoon: an Infantry platoon from Bravo Company attached to the tankers of Delta Company for the duration of this deployment. (Bravo Company has a platoon of tankers from Delta Company as well.) The tankers enjoy harassing the Infantry that changing Bradley track is much easier than tank track. Having never changed Bradley track, I wouldn't know. It is an eternal truth in the military that your job is more difficult than the job of the guy next to you--at least it's strangely comforting to believe it is.
I would have to say that I was impressed with Red Platoon's execution of this task. Maybe it was the heat and dust motivating them to finish as quickly as possible. Whatever it was, they worked well together--communicating, motivating, and correcting each other as necessary. Let's not forget, that this is a task that even if it is done quickly, it must be done properly; no one wants to have to recover a vehicle from sector and tow it back to the COP.