News | April 3, 2006

732nd ELRS reaches 4-million mile mark

By Staff Sgt. Kevin Nichols U.S. Central Command Air Forces News Team

The 732nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron reached a milestone Saturday when they completed their four-million-mile convoy mark. After Lt. Col. John Waggoner’s Airmen returned from the milestone convoy, the 732nd ELRS commander, screamed out to his troops, “How many miles?”

“Four-million,” his troops ecstatically answered back.

“This culminates two years of convoys, doing stuff that you’ve had to stand up from scratch,” Colonel Waggoner said. “The Army asked us to come in and help out; we were able to do it. Just don’t forget, you’ve been an important part of history.”

That history started with their first convoy two years ago. The 732nd ELRS Airmen, which uses their Army predecessor’s unit designator of 2632, have taken to calling themselves Detachment 2632 have kept supplies going on some of the world’s most dangerous highways since June 2004.

The importance of this mission was not lost on the members, nor is the danger.

“Staff Sergeant Peters will not be forgotten -- HOOAH!” Colonel Waggoner cried out to the convoy team. “Airman Anderson will not be forgotten -- HOOAH!”

Staff Sgt. Dustin Peters and Airman 1st Class Carl Anderson were gunners from another unit sent to Balad to help out with the convoy runs. They were both killed when their convoys were hit by roadside bombs.

“I have some Airmen who were here with (Sergeant Peters and Airman Anderson) up to the events that ended in their tragic death,” said Capt. Richard Pike, Det. 2632 commander. This accomplishment means a lot for these Airmen.

Captain Pike reflected on how Sergeant Peters and Airman Anderson might feel about the 4-million mile accomplishment.

“I believe they’d be extremely proud; not just in what the Airmen have done but what the Airmen have provided for the nation and the people of Iraq,” Captain Pike. “We started with an honorable goal and we’ve met that goal.”

Airmen packed in under their shelter on a cold and rainy day to welcome the four-million mile convoy home. Handshakes were given and smiles came out on their faces. Despite the gloom of the day, spirits were bright as the convoy represents more to them than just the miles they’ve racked up.

For Senior Airman Candi Laury, a gunner for the convoy detachment, it’s all about teamwork.

“It’s our pride and joy, because we take everything to heart, especially with our job,” she said “We’re like family.”

Captain Pike looks toward the future, as the Air Force gets ready to turn over convoy duties back to the Army this month.

“Hopefully our efforts will not be forgotten as we leave out of here and the country of Iraq continues to build toward a strong democracy,” Captain Pike said.
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