LANSING, Mich. — The Howell based 1462nd Transportation Company is one of four Michigan Army National Guard transportation companies. As with many Guard units, the 1462nd has served overseas in support of the global war on terrorism which began in 2001with the onset of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their GWOT deployments took them to Iraq in 2004 – 2005 and to Kuwait and Afghanistan in 2011 – 2012.
“When I joined the unit in 2006, the unit was back from Iraq and had a mix of combat veterans and new Soldiers,” said 1462nd Readiness Non-commissioned Officer Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Fairbanks.
During their deployment, the 1462nd Soldiers performed more than 300 transportation missions and logged more than 1.2 million miles throughout Iraq. On numerous missions they encountered improvised explosive devices buried along the convoy routes. Gratefully, the 1462nd did not have any Soldiers killed in action but they left Operation Iraqi Freedom’s battlefield with 28 Soldiers who received the Purple Heart Medal and 11 Soldiers who were awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in a combat zone.
In December 2011, the 1462nd deployed 168 Soldiers to Afghanistan and Kuwait.
“We first went to Kuwait and later in the deployment, half were deployed to Afghanistan,” said Fairbanks. “The Soldiers in Afghanistan had the retro-sort mission and their job was to reintegrate equipment and supplies that were left when U.S. bases closed,” Fairbanks continued. “The mission in Afghanistan involved reclaiming military items from bases and either recycling it, discarding or destroying it, or putting the equipment back in the system.”
The mission for the 1462nd Soldiers in Kuwait was unique, and it signified the U.S. military’s departure from Iraq. The 1462nd was the first transportation company that the U.S. Army made into a composite-truck company with three different types of vehicles. Their mission was closely aligned to a transportation company’s expected mission expect that the truck drivers cross-trained in theatre to allow them to drive armored vehicles.
“We were hauling equipment from the Iraq border to K-crossing and Camp Beiring, which are ports in Kuwait,” said Fairbanks. “We hauled a lot of ammo and the “T-walls” and barriers. Our trucks are regular semis with a 40-foot truck bed. They made us a composite-truck-company with M915’s [14-ton semi tractor-trailer], a fleet of MRAPs [mine-resistant ambush protected], and they gave us a fleet of HETs [heavy equipment transport system].
Fairbanks is one of four full-time Soldiers at the Howell Armory who support 160-plus Soldiers who drill one weekend a month. Another 76 Soldiers from other companies within the 246th Transportation Battalion are attached to the unit to support the transportation component of the state’s command and control response element. The Soldiers assigned to the C2CRE mission train to support civil authorities in a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear event.
At home station the Soldiers have routine monthly training requirements in addition to their annual training mission, usually at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center in Grayling, Michigan. In April 2015, the 1462nd will support Arctic Eagle, a joint-training exercise at CGJMTC which will include U.S. Marine and Coast Guard troops, as well as Danish military participants. In June, the 1462nd members who are part of the C2CRE mission will provide transportation assets to Northern Exposure, a major exercise in Michigan where the military provides defense support to civilian authorities.
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Story by Master Sgt. Denice Rankin, Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs, Michigan National Guard