CAMP CASEY, Korea — The rain and heat of the late August weather did not deter soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team from performing railhead operations and improving their mission readiness.
Ahead of their gunnery starting in September and ending mid-October, the 1-5 Cav “Black Knight” soldiers prepared their vehicles for the railhead operations from Aug. 23 to 30.
Preparing their vehicles for the railhead is a lengthy process, which involves preventative maintenance checks and services done at the battalion motor pools to ensure the equipment is ready for use during the training.
“We’re faced with the challenge of falling in on equipment that we haven’t used before,” said Sgt. Pedro Villegas, a mortarman with Headquarters and Headquarters Company. “So, it’s our job to PMCS (preventive maintenance, checks and services) these vehicles and pretty much break them down to build them back up.”
Railhead operations are conducted over several days, with the vehicles being loaded at the railhead at Camp Humphreys and downloaded in Camp Casey. This process is overseen by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Karla Smith, mobility officer with 2nd Brigade.
“The process takes a lot of planning and coordination,” said Smith. “I coordinate with the unit to figure out what vehicles they want to transport, which then goes to 138th Movement Control Team at Humphrey’s rail and ends up at 662nd Movement Control Team Casey rail.”
At both the Humphreys and Casey rail, the MCT provides safety briefs and guidelines as well serving as liaisons for soldiers to work with Koreans.
“We work closely with our Korean counterpart to coordinate the movement of the equipment,” explained Pvt. 1st Class Destiny Gomez, a transportation manager with 138th MCT. “We manage the railhead and make sure that the vehicles get to where they need to without any issues.”
The railhead operations is the first and most important step in kicking off the 70-day gunnery for 1-5 Cav, as they become the first battalion to deploy from Camp Humphreys to Camp Casey for the training.
With the gunnery spanning over a little more than two months, the battalion will have the opportunity to train extensively on their equipment as well as cross train soldiers with Marines, said Villegas.
“It’s a great opportunity for new soldiers to train on the equipment in a real-life environment,” added Villegas.
Following the completion of railhead operations at Camp Humphreys, soldiers from 1-5 Cav were ready to download the vehicles that were transported the day prior, at the rail in Camp Casey where they will be loaded onto vehicles and transported to the unit’s final training destination.
“We’re excited to get up there,” said Cpt. Trevin Terpstra, Charlie Company commander. “We’ll be the first battalion from Humphreys going up to Rodriguez Range, so we’re excited to be able to tell the next unit what to expect. This is what we’ve been training for.”