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NEWS | July 13, 2018

502nd LRS honors combat convoy legacy

By Airman 1st Class Dillon Parker 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 502nd Logistics Readiness Squadron has begun shipping "heritage rocks" to Air Force bases around the continental United States from the Basic Combat Convoy Course at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis that prepared ground transportation specialists for deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


The rocks were dug out of a quarry at JBSA-Camp Bullis and painted with unit mascots and murals to commemorate each class’s completion of the course and subsequent tour in Iraq.


“Lots of blood sweat and tears that went into that mission,” said Master Sgt. Roger Maxwell, 502nd LRS Vehicle Operations supervisor. “The course shut down and we stopped doing combat convoys in 2011, so it’s really important for us to keep the rocks preserved and get them out into the hands of the people who painted them.”


The rocks not only represent the history of the vehicle operations career field, but also showcase the values the course taught, Maxwell added.


“The course and the combat convoys brought our career field a lot closer together,” Maxwell said. “We had to learn how to be teammates and to be prepared to face anything together.”


Nineteen rocks were painted in total over the years the six-week course ran. One will stay at Joint Base San Antonio and 18 will be sent to various Air Force bases around the United States.


“These rocks give the guys something to bridge the gap between the older and newer members,” said Master Sgt. Jason Napoleoni, 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Operations superintendent. “We became a well-oiled machine, ready to deploy for nine months at a time through teamwork. It’s important those lessons don’t get lost and they get passed onto the new guys.”


The course prepared Airmen for nine-month deployments where 16-hour days and combat exposures were frequent, Napoleoni said.


“These rocks are a vital part of our career field’s history, showcasing what we’re capable of,” Napoleoni said. “I’m proud to say that our career field truly answered our nation’s call in its time of need.”