Theodore's World: Remember The 5 D's

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April 02, 2006

Remember The 5 D's



A HET, or heavy equipment transporter, prepares to continue a convoy to Baghdad International Airport. The massive truck and trailer system boasts 48 wheels and a trailer with rear-wheel steering. It is capable of hauling M1 tanks and some of the military’s heaviest equipment.

Unit tasked with moving machinery from Kuwait into Iraq

A heavy job that calls for heavy equipment

BAGHDAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT — An armored rig roars down the open road, equipped with a 500-horsepower engine and 48 wheels.

It’s part of an imposing convoy headed “up north” from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Their mission is to bring units’ equipment into Iraq after it arrives in Kuwait.

The soldiers of Battery B, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment out of Fort Sill, Okla., are driving the Heavy Equipment Transporter, or HET.

A portion of the battery’s 2nd Platoon recently navigated Iraq’s dangerous, roadside-bomb-laden highways and made it to Baghdad International Airport without incident or injury.

“I feel a lot safer in these things,” said Sgt. Keith Noon, 22, of Tucson, Ariz. “I think it intimidates [the enemy]. I don’t think they want to attack such a huge vehicle. Even if they do try it, they know they won’t be able to do anything to it.”

As the convoy got closer to Baghdad, the threat of small-arms fire and roadside bombs increased. Before making the last leg of the trip to the airport, one soldier gave some friendly advice, quoting from the movie “Dodgeball.”

“If anything happens, remember the five ‘D’s,” he said, jokingly. “Dodge, duck, dive, dip and dodge.”

A roadside bomb was located on the main supply route the convoy was traveling Wednesday night. An explosive ordnance disposal team was dispatched to the site, and the convoy was held up for some time.

Just prior to midnight Wednesday, the convoy made it safe and secure to a staging area at Baghdad International Airport — without the need to employ the five D’s.

Road songs

The following is a sample of the some of the music soldiers listen to while on convoy:

“Ride of the Valkyrie” composed by Richard Wagner

“Midnight Wagon” by Insane Clown Posse

“In Between Dreams” album by Jack Johnson

“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

“Bombs over Baghdad” by OutKast

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

Posted by Wild Thing at April 2, 2006 12:07 AM


A close friend of mine was assigned to convoy duty in Nam. Hardened vehicles were developed in response to ambushes along the primary routes north.
Link is to the last surviving ATAV Guntruck from that era.

Thanks to my bud Larry for his service to our country and for sending me the link.

Posted by: RightToCarry at April 2, 2006 06:42 AM

RTC- I liked that story of "Eve of Destruction" in Nam. That story, like this one of the "5 D's", shows the value of support units. And, how they can become combat troops in guerilla/insurgency wars.

The support troops need to be ready to fight so they don't suffer confusion and have weapons failure like Jessica Lynch's small repair unit did in it's infamous battle.

Posted by: TomR at April 2, 2006 08:55 AM

RTC what a great story thank you for sharing about Larry and the link. Please thank your friend Larry from me for his service to our country. I love reading stories of our military.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 2, 2006 09:53 AM

Tom I agree support units are so important.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 2, 2006 09:56 AM

Great story WT, it brought back old memories. Many thanks to Grambo for keeping the transportation record, that is a beautiful restoration job on the "Eve of Destruction".
I was in transportation, as part of the 259th Quartermaster Battalion, 26th Group (later 80th Group), with the 737th. T C. We often had a gun truck on major convoys but all too often we were sent on separate convoys without an escort, the gun trucks were in short supply and were being used elsewhere. If we were really lucky there was a helo-gunship flying up and down the length of the convoy providing security. This did precious little to prevent road mines or command detonated mines (IED's) but they sure dampend the enthusiasm for an ambush. We had two 'gun jeeps' with twin M60's and one 5 ton tractor with a M2 on a swivel mount above the cab, where the gunner could stand up to shoot. Our armor consisted of sand bagged floorboards, helmets and flak jackets, thankfully there is some armor on the vehicles used in Iraq. Our weapons were the issued M16 although I carried both an M16 and M79, dust was always a problem in the trucks and the M16 could jam, the M79 always worked :-).

Posted by: Jack at April 2, 2006 03:13 PM

Jack thank you for sharing, I am so glad the M79 always worked. That would be so frightening to have a gun that jammed easily and did not work right. There are so many things involved in a war that many do not realize how every detail has to come together hopefully. Thank you again for telling about your experience.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 2, 2006 04:56 PM


All support troops in the 25th had to train at Cu Chi's Ambush Academy and pull occasional foot patrols in the area, as well as the usual perimenter guard. I don't know how long this went on...I've forgotten if or when they disbanded the Academy, but everyone had to do it, clerks, signal, transportation, motor pool..everyone.

I never saw a gun truck in III Corps, maybe the occasional quad-fifty rigged up, but convoys up and down routes 1 and 13 to Tay Ninh and beyond were just done as fast as a duece-and-a-half could go on those roads, with combat MP's in front and at the rear, and sometimes a gunship. It was always dangerous.

It baffles me that Lynch's outfit wasn't trained better in self-defense.

Posted by: Rhod at April 2, 2006 07:14 PM