base information

LRS takes training to the street

Vehicle operators from the 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron pose for a photo during the Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The purpose of the training was to teach Airmen the skills needed for a combat convoy operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu/Released)

Vehicle operators from the 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron pose for a photo during the Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The purpose of the training was to teach Airmen the skills needed for a combat convoy operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ethan Croce, 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, directs a vehicle into a towing position in order to flat tow a humvee during Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. During the training Airmen learned how to flat tow and recover a vehicle after it sustained damage. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ethan Croce, 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, directs a vehicle into a towing position in order to flat tow a humvee during Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. During the training Airmen learned how to flat tow and recover a vehicle after it sustained damage. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ethan Croce, 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, directs a vehicle into a towing position in order to flat tow a humvee during Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The training prepared vehicle operators for deployment situations, as well as provided them with the skill sets necessary to their military career. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ethan Croce, 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, directs a vehicle into a towing position in order to flat tow a humvee during Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The training prepared vehicle operators for deployment situations, as well as provided them with the skill sets necessary to their military career. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Patrick Mackey, 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron training and validation operations NCO in charge, reviews training procedures with Airmen during the Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. During the training a vehicle encounters a simulated hit and Airmen must perform a split convoy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Patrick Mackey, 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron training and validation operations NCO in charge, reviews training procedures with Airmen during the Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. During the training a vehicle encounters a simulated hit and Airmen must perform a split convoy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu)

A humvee drives to a training site during the Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron vehicle operators are trained on a variety of skills to include emergency vehicle repairs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu/Released)

A humvee drives to a training site during the Convoy Operations Readiness Training, Dec. 6, 2013, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. 366th Logistic Readiness Squadron vehicle operators are trained on a variety of skills to include emergency vehicle repairs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Caitlin Guinazu/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Miles and miles of empty snow-covered land spread ahead of the convoy, as vehicle operators from 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron made their way to the Convoy Operation Readiness Training site.

Enduring bumpy roads, freezing temperatures and hours of driving was just a side note I experienced while documenting these Gunfighters as they accomplished the annual training.

Separated into three phases, the training prepared members of the 366th LRS for any deployment they might receive.

The first phase provided training in vehicle dispersal and camouflage, as well as experience in radio communication and reaction to attacks.

In the second phase, members learned convoy procedures and operation in blackout conditions.

Finally, in the last phase of the training, members completed land navigations and the combat convoy operation exercise.

"In today's training, we received a better understanding of how things work and how they are accomplished," said Airman 1st Class Travis Skullburg, 366th Logistical Readiness Squadron vehicle operator. "Convoys are a big aspect of our jobs, especially while deploying, so it's great that this training gave us experience and taught us what to do in combat situations."

Playing the part of Opposition Force, the vehicle operator's convoy served as a target for an F-15E Strike Eagle. As the Eagle circled above, the sound echoed around our location. Not knowing when we would be hit, we drove from site to site.

As the convoy traveled the turns of the road, a huge explosion rendered the center humvee immobile. Enacting the split-convoy tactic, the damaged vehicle was evacuated as the first vehicle in the convoy maintained position. Afterwards, we proceeded forward to complete the mission. Only after the mission is completed, did we return to recover the damaged vehicle.

I witnessed as again and again they practiced the maneuvers that one day may prove critical. Drilling the scenario until it becomes second nature, a reaction they didn't hesitate to make.

"This training helped me focus on what I was supposed to do, to respond at a moment's notice and be aware of my surroundings," said Airman 1st Class Anthony Truesdale, 366th LRS vehicle operator. "Being trained with hands on experience was great and will allow me to rely more on myself in the future, instead of having to rely on others."

Not only did this training prepare vehicle operators for deployments, but the CORT also gave the LRS members the skill sets that will prove vital throughout their military career.

After spending time with these Airmen one thing became clear to me, they are preparing for a very hazardous job that's not often recognized. The combination of the elements and the rough ride these Gunfighters endure during training and deployments opened my eyes to how much respect they deserve.