FOB WARRIOR, Iraq – E Co, 10th BSB (2-22 IN FSC) has conducted a total of one hundred and six vehicle recovery missions since it took over operations in early October. Eagle Company´s Maintenance Platoon has two recovery experts, SGT Jeffrey Dilcher (Tiskilwa, Il) and SGT Carl Brown (Casper, WY) who are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SGT Dilcher and SPC Joshua Zwierlein (Rochester, NY) make up one recovery team while SGT Brown and SPC Hailey Hoard (Burley, ID) make up the other.
These recovery teams have adapted well to the ever-changing environment they face. There is no telling which type of recovery mission will suddenly occur, so the soldiers must be knowledgeable on all types of equipment used by the brigade. New equipment, like mine rollers and MRAP's requires different techniques and procedures in vehicle recovery. SGT Brown acquired better chains and a special purpose tool kit for his M1074 PLS and SGT Dilcher modified his M984 HEMTT Wrecker to carry more items like spare tires, special tools and parts. Also the recovery team added more lights to better assist in spotting IED's. The company welder, SGT Desuza, has fabricated ramps and a winch mount for the PLS pallet to cut down on the time it takes to upload a vehicle, and more recently a winch provided by Mile Marker was installed to assist in pulling a downed vehicle on to the PLS pallet. With the help of Off Road Adventures magazine and Mile Marker Winches, the recovery team was able to cut down on the time it took to recover any down Humvee.
Another improvement the teams have made in the past 11 months is reaction time. “We have our reaction time down to four minutes”, said SGT Dilcher, which is a great improvement from their first mission. This means that in four minutes the team will be waiting for their escort in their truck with full body armor and weapon. The escort, whether that is a Quick Reaction Force or the CSE (convoy security element) platoon, has never had to wait on the recovery team. This is important because when a vehicle is disabled out in sector, a quick reaction time may be the difference between life and death.
The Eagle Maintenance Recovery Teams have undoubtedly provided an invaluable service to the Soldiers operating on FOB Warrior and within the 2nd Battalion 22nd Infantry´s area of operation. These soldiers are professionals and are serious about their jobs. When asked to describe his work, SGT Brown commented, “It´s like being a medic. We love our job, but never want to do it because it means something bad happened.” SGT Dilcher and SGT Brown both attribute their success to their soldiers who work unceasingly to ensure their equipment is always ready.
Both the leaders and soldiers are constantly thinking of ways to improve on the systems they already have in place. They are also searching for new equipment to make their work more efficient. One of the additions in equipment is the M88, a tracked recovery vehicle that is capable of recovering and lifting an MRAP (which weights around 40,000 lbs) on to a flat bed trailer. There is no doubt that these soldiers will continue to improve and find more ways to support the 1st Brigade Combat Team.
CPL. Joseph S.Rodriguez
TF 106/ Alpha Company 3-144 Infantry
Thanks for this. Sounds like you guys are doing a great job. I will be including it in the "In Touch With Our Troops" feature in Off-Road Adventures magazine. When the time comes, please let your replacements know about our Operation Light Sabre program so we can continue to send off-roading lights to them if they need them, and ORA magazines if they like. If they don't need more lights, then I can redirect shipments to other units. Likewise, if you know of other units that could use lights, let me know.
Off-Road Adventures Magazine
I am currently on Title 10 orders for the Texas National Guard (called to active-duty) to serve another deployment in Iraq. My unit is Alpha Company, 3-144 Infantry. My duty consists of being lead gunner for our Hum-vee convoy security team.
I read your article on Bravo Company…and wanted to see if it would be possible to assist our lighting needs as well. Alpha Company currently runs convoy escort security missions for logistical supplies from southern to northern Iraq. We only travel at night, so lighting up the road to identify Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and Explosive Formed Penetrators (EFP) keeps my fellow soldiers safe and alive…The current lighting we have is extremely insufficient, constantly breaking, and in short supply for parts and replacement lamp bulbs...
Like any soldier, my number one priority is taking care of my fellow soldiers. My men and I would greatly appreciate if 4 Wheel Parts could help us in our efforts. Thank you for any assistance in this matter.
CPL. Joseph S.Rodriguez
TF 106/ Alpha Company 3-144 Infantry
Sounds like you guys got some pretty tough duty there. We'll try to help you with your lighting needs as much as possible…Please email me your complete military mailing address so we can set you up to receive lights…
Off-Road Adventures Magazine
I am currently deployed to serve a deployment in Iraq. My unit is 66 Trans Co. motor transport. My duties are transporting logistical supplies from southern to Northern Iraq.
Just like CPL. Joseph S.Rodriguez of TF 106/ Alpha Company 3-144 Infantry said, we only travel at night, so lighting up the road to identify Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and Explosive Formed Penetrators (EFP) keeps my fellow soldiers safe and alive…The current lighting we have is extremely insufficient, constantly breaking, and in short supplyfor parts and replacement lamp bulbs... we also are in the same problem and I was wondering how my company could get some help with this situation. When we do the convoy the gun truck lights up the path for themselves and for us that are behind them (sometimes a good distance behind them) can’t really see what's out there or what they missed, so it would be appreciated if you could also help us out.
My fellow soldiers and I would greatly appreciate if 4 Wheel Parts could help us in our efforts. Thank you for any assistance in this matter.
Hi Andrea. Sorry i didn’t respond right away, but I was a home enjoying my 2 weeks leave. But I’m back in Iraq and I did receive the lights. Thank you very much for sending them so quick. We started fabricating some light bars and began to install them on the trucks we could, and just like I was predicting, it caused a buzz around the company, and the other platoons are wondering if you guys could send more to us I explained to them how this works and they understand but if you do have some more, we would be very grateful to you guys. Also our missions have gone up, due to the fact that we’re starting to move soldiers out of Iraq, so we are really busy, and that means long hours on the road. Which means we would need those lights, so if you can send us more that would be nice.
thank you, Spc. David Carrillo
Also, I will be sending you the photos we're taking of the install and final look.
I just received two boxes of lights, many thanks. They will more than do the job. I was really surprised at what y'all sent. That is what I'd call God lights. As in light up the whole world. Really appreciate the support and I'll try to get some pics for y'all.
The lights finally arrived and we are so excited! We will be extremely busy the next few days and looking forward to after Tuesday so that we can mount the lights on some of our 12 volt trucks. I will be waiting for the resistors so that we can mount them as well. There were 20 sets that came in. I will be sure to take plenty of pictures and have a few of the guys help me write a short story to get back to you of our experiences. When the other lights come in, I will be sure to give them to a neighboring unit, where I have a buddy that said they need them just as much as we do. I will be sure to give them your email so that they may write you and send pictures as well. Again, thank you so much, you really do not know how much this means to us! God bless.
Thank You so much! Is it that easy? I mean I've heard of and dealt with companies that want signed letters or memos on unit letterhead! When I get back to Hawaii I'll definitely be going to your store there. This kind of support is amazing! One of my soldiers wrote and called several vendors and manufacturers about some other equipment we are having difficulty getting and was told they had already reached their quota or they just said no. You guys just said how many and here you go, awesome. I'll definitely get you some pics of them mounted when I get them. We greatly appreciate your support. These lights will definitely increase our capabilities at night and make driving much safer.
Hi. Thanks for the quick replies. I've been kinda busy, sorry I haven't written you back. I have 4 trucks in my platoon that need lights right now. I would have 5 but one got blown up. We would appreciate any lights you could send us. Do they include the harnesses as well, or would I have to make some? We can definitely get you some photos of the trucks w/ the lights. I don't know if it makes a difference to you or not, but we have MRAPs and they are a 12 volt system, not the 24 like the HUMVEE's. My address is SSG Sommerfeld, Ryan FOB Summerall Iraq Michael is my first name, but I go by Ryan.
Thanks for what you guys are doing. A lot of companies aren't doing this or are only donating a set quota for publicity reasons. I know soldiers your company has helped and we all appreciate it. I'll definitely be buying Jeep parts from you guys when I get home and get another Jeep.
Received the lights while I was on leave, but they arrived in terrific shape, can't wait to mount them up on the trucks. These will be a HUGE asset on night missions. Thanks again for your support and dedication to soldiers. The magazines were much appreciated too. I'll send pics as soon as we get them mounted. The wheelers in the platoon are impressed with them and we haven't even used em yet!
A Grateful Soldier and Wheeler
Hello again, Ok our situation is very unique. My brigade is in charge of deployment and redeployment missions for every single unit that is in Iraq. Our brigades main post is Camp Arifjan Kuwait where all the equipment comes from ships and air. Once a unit equipment arrives in country, then my brigade which is currently a transportation brigade which has about 7 transportation battalions under us. Two which are even Air force. I would say there are about 20 convoys on the road from my brigade traveling from Kuwait to the most northern part of Iraq which for us is Mosul. With those 20 convoys we have 4 security trucks that go with them such as Gun Trucks and MRAPs. Which makes it about 80 security trucks constantly on the road each mission for these soldiers last anywhere from 7 to 15 days on the road depending on the camp they are traveling to, the weather, and what the load is. So all the trucks to go out. The main use for these lights are the security trucks. Which are the trucks the search for IEDs and other dangers on the roads in Iraq. I completely understand that you cannot provide us with the number of lights that would supply all of our trucks and we more than completely understand. If you weren't able to send us anymore, then what you have already done is more than we could ever ask for. If there is anything else you would like to ask or any more questions you have I will do my best to answer them and if I can't I will ask someone who does know the answer. Thank you once again and I hope to hear from you soon. Take care.
Hello, I wanted to let you guys know that we have just received your first shipment of lights. I received 40 individual lights and 20 wiring kits, for a total of 20 sets. That is a great start! We are already working on putting them on a trucks to see how they are going to work. I have talked with and sent my NCOIC, SFC Ludlam, the example of that article and he is currently working on putting one together for our story. I will tell you, after not receiving some kind of confirmation email back about the number of lights I requested, I started to become a little unsure if you would send any. Well, I do not have that unsure feeling any more. This is really great guys! I still find it hard to believe that there are people out there willing to support us in ways that are extraordinary as this. You will be getting an update on that article and pictures of the Gun truck escort teams soon. Once again thank you.
SPC Richardson, Justin
Convoy Support Operations
COB Speicher, Iraq
MA'AM, I appreciate the cause of operation Light Saber and how it supports the troops. Unaware to myself, another Soldier in my Company just received some lights today from the Operation. So I will no longer be needing the request for lights at this time. And again thank you. For all the support the company provides.
Hi Andrea, I would like to take the time and tell you how much me and the rest of the BRAVO COMPANY BLACKHEARTS appreciate you and your establishment. You guys came through for us in the clutch, we finally received the lights and they are awesome, "We Love them". As far as the little invention (resistors) 24 should do us. Again you’re a doll and we will never forget this. Please send your full name, position and company address.
Dear Gearhead, I am a SGT. in the U.S. Army currently deployed to Afghanistan. I have had a subscription to your magazine for about 3 years now. Me and my 13 fellow soldiers were having a rather good deployment until about two weeks ago. Our mission is training the Afghan police as well as doing mounted combat patrols (both day and night). We were just given new "Cougar" vehicles about two weeks ago. If you are unfamiliar with these, let me tell you. They are huge (40,000 lb) armoured vehicles that have just about everything you could think of. They are the berries especially when it comes to our dreaded IED's. They are made for that purpose alone, to survive a blast and more importantly, save the lives of the soldiers on-board. We have ran into one flaw though. The lighting on these things is horrible! At night you can see about 25-30 ft. Have you ever tried to stop a 20 ton vehicle that is extremely top-heavy in the distance of 30 ft when going 55mph? It's impossible! the military has a solution, lightbar sets that run $10,000 a set. We have 2 trucks and no means of the lights. And as most veterans know its nigh-on impossible to get approval for that kind of expense. I have come up with a happy alternative, I got the approval to mount on aftermarket lighting if i could aquire them. I was wondering if you could help me out with the issue. We have 24volt systems and just need some sort of off-road lighting to help us see. Any assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated!
Andrea, Your offer to help is greatly appreciated. My unit (108th Cavalry) lost 3 men on June 4th to an IED and lost another on the same day due to a vehicle rolling down a mountainside. In each case, visibility may have changed the outcome. Make no mistake, the government supplies us with good lighting and equipment, but there’s always room for improvement. I will consult with my soldiers and Marines and get back to you with a conservative wish list. Andrea, individuals like yourself and your company are rare. Everyone speaks of their patriotism and support of the military...few act on it.
Hi, My name is, SGT Jeremiah Marsh. I am a loyal 4wheel parts customer, and offroad adventure reader. I am also currently deployed to Mosul, Iraq with Alpha Battery 2nd battalion 146th field artillery. Our full time job here, is escorting semi trucks in the dark, down some of the most dangerous streets in the world.
While at home I read about operation light saber. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you helping those guys. I am absolutely sure that you're program has saved lives. Having adequate lighting allows soldiers to see explosive devices in the road before it's too late.
I am writing hoping that you might consider sponsoring my unit as well. We do have SOME additional lighting, that was obtained by the unit that we replaced, but it isn't nearly enough, and what we do have is showing it's age, and beginning to fail.
I understand that you cannot help everyone, But anything you can do would be Greatly appreciated, Thank you. Sincerely,
Sgt Jeremiah Marsh
COS Diamond back
Hi, I'm SGT Jeremiah Marsh 1st platoon, Alpha Battery 2nd battalion 146th field artillery. I sent you a couple email's from my yahoo account asking for assistance with extra lighting as we run all of our missions at night, through some of the most dangerous roads in Iraq. The last email I got from you was on the 19th, asking if I had a military email address. I sent it, but haven't heard back, so I wasn't sure if you got it. Anyways, this is it. Also, I was wondering if there was anything else you needed from me, pictures maybe? If there's anything else I can do, please let me know. Lighting continues to be one of our most serious problems. Most of our vehicles have very little extra lighting, and what we do have fails regularly, due to a lack of heavy gauge wire, and switches/relays. On our last mission, one of our gunners actually had the wiring for his spotlight catch fire. Anything you can do would help.
Jeremiah James Marsh
We're are still here. The lights just got here (you gotta love the army postal service). Yeah we toasted a few already. We're going to be leaving in a few weeks, but we're going to give the unused lights to the unit that's replacing us. So, yes please, if you have a fix for the 24v problem, I would REALLY appreciate it. I'll try and send you some pictures, we've been really busy with getting things ready to transfer control over to the new unit, while still running missions. Thank you again for all your support.
SGT Jeremiah Marsh
It has been a while. I had e-mailed you the day I received the lights to tell you Thank You, and they will work out great. You must have never gotten the e-mail? I am sorry. I wondered why you did not reply back. I figured you may have been busy. Well we installed the lights on our route clearance equipment that we use to find I.E.D.'s. They worked great! They were very helpful since a lot of our missions are at night or early morning. When I wrote you the original e-mail I told you that our company really appreciated the donations, and the lights will help defeat the I.E.D. threat in our area of operations here in Southern Baghdad. We never had any problems with the lights themselves. I don't need anymore because the vehicles we were using for our route clearance mission are now in the hands of another company. As I write you this we only have 10 more days here and then I come back to the U.S. What I can do is talk to a company here called ManTech. They are the one's that do all the major work on route clearance vehicles. I know they were really digging the lights. Maybe they can put them on other companys’ vehicles while they continue to keep the streets and our soldiers safe. Let me know. Hopefully you get this e-mail. lol... Thanks again to you Andrea, and all who made night into day to keep us safe.
SGT. Michael Lyle
Eco (engineers), 1/22INBN, 4thID
I am fine, the lights worked great for us, and we handed off our mission to the Texas National Guard in December. I have since returned to my home in Arkansas. thanks for the lights, and thanks for your concern about us.
Dear Ms Friedenthal,
So far we've received 24 lights and 12 wiring harnesses and we greatly appreciate those donations. We are currently working on getting a power source for our lights (which should be easy enough) because our HMMWV batteries are 24 volt. We have been very busy lately, but as soon as we get a chance to mount them we will take pictures and send them to you. Again, we cannot thank you enough for donating the off road lights.
Thank you again,
SGT John J. Fritz
Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, but we have been very busy lately!!! We have gotten all of the packages and have had the lights attached to our trucks for a few weeks now. They have proven to be a real help to us and once again I want to thank you and everyone at your company for your support. Here lately we have found ourselves driving dangerous back mountain roads late at night and there would have been no way that we would have been able to safely negotiate the terrain and road ways with our "stock lights". You guys have all been a huge help! I am currently in the process of trying to get a few group photos of us in front of our trucks with the off road lights. I should be able to send them soon. Once again thank you!
SPC Cameron, Brevin