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253rd logs 60,000 plus miles in two weeks
By Staff Sgt. John T. Crankshaw III, 444th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Soldiers of the 253rd Transportation Company logged more than 60,000 miles and moved more than 260 pieces of equipment into and out of Letterkenny Army Depot near Chambersburg, Pa. during their annual training period from July 17 through the 31.

Their missions began at Cape May Courthouse, where the 99 Soldiers and 36 military transport vehicles departed for the 179-mile convoy to Letterkenny, Pa.

"The convoy up here is like a real world mission," said Spc. Keith McKevitt, a second platoon truck driver.

Spc. Javier Vega, a truck driver with the 253rd Transportation Company, advances during an exercise simulating a blocked ambush. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Allen Robinson, 444MPAD.

One of the first missions was to deliver six refurbished high mobility, multi-purpose wheeled vehicles to Lake Conneaut in Northwestern Pennsylvania, 179 miles away. The sixteen Soldiers then returned four damaged vehicles to Letterkenny Depot, said Staff Sgt. Dallas Bohn, a truck driver.

Sgt. Christine Czaja, a truck driver, took part in a threeday mission to move 48 trailers from Letterkenny Depot to Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., 76 miles away.

"We don't get to drive the trucks much during the year so this was an excellent opportunity to gain proficiency," Czaja said.

Thirteen Soldiers used six trucks to accomplish the task and on day two, they made history, she said.

"We're the first unit operating out of Letterkenny that's been able to make two trips to FIG in one day," said Second Platoon Leader 1st Lt. Samuel Waltzer.

While the FIG mission was going on, third platoon was conducting a grueling mission to deliver water pumps to Red River Army Depot near Texarkana, Texas, said Waltzer.

The 18-person team drove 1,200 miles in 84 hours, dropped off the equipment, and was reunited with the rest of their unit seven days later. That's 2,400 safely-driven miles in one week.

In addition to these missions, the company also conducted movements to West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Fort Dix, and Tobyhanna, Pa., during their two-week annual training period, said Waltzer.

Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen 177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Spc. Christopher McPherson, left, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator in training, 50th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, listens to Spc. Christopher Storkamp, right, UAV Maintainer with the 1-34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Minnesota Army National Guard perform maintenance on a Shadow 200 RQ-7 drone on August 11, 2009. New Jersey and Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers trained at the 177th Fighter Wing's Warren Grove Range to validate the Range's capabilities to support the training and operational needs of Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) units. This training will enable the 50th Brigade Special Troops Battalion TUAS Platoon to be better prepared to receive its Shadow 200 RQ-7 fielding in 2011. NJARNG Soldiers got to work with the equipment and benefit from the learning of the Minnesota Soldiers, who are among the most proficient TUAS operators in the Army and have significant deployment experience. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA.
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Volume 35 Number 1 Staff / Information
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