FORT HOOD, Texas –
Three U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from very unique civilian backgrounds joined as a team to create an amazing achievement during a convoy live fire exercise at Fort Hood, Texas on July 14, 2021.
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers Spc. Caitlyn I. Webb, Sgt. Jasmine A. Hampton and Spc. Hannah H. Sutphin, a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) All-Terrain Vehicle gunnery crew assigned to the 846th Transportation Company, were awarded the Army Commendation Medal, by the 120th Infantry Brigade, for achieving the highest qualifying score during a convoy live fire exercise at Fort Hood’s Clabber Creek gunnery range, July 14, 2021.
Command Sgt. Major. Eric B. Olsen, senior enlisted advisor for the 120th Infantry Brigade, presented the awards at the ceremony and Col. Brian P. Wolford, the 120th commander, congratulated the crew at the range, when the unit was completing their last day of training.
1-393rd Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) and the 1-395th Brigade Engineer Battalion (BEB), subordinate units in the 120th Infantry Brigade, hosted the training exercise. The transportation unit was tested on the gunnery range as a validation requirement for their upcoming deployment.
According to one of the lead training organizers, achieving a high-level qualifying score on this range is not an effort that is easy to accomplish.
“This crew has never trained on this platform before and were able to achieve a distinguished rating, which is an extremely hard feat to achieve,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brett Johnston, a master gunner for 1-395th BEB, 120th Infantry Brigade and a lead organizer for the training.
Sgt. Jasmine Hampton, the crew team leader, works as a driver for a food and restaurant service distribution company when she is not on reserve duty said, “It’s a good feeling knowing we qualified with a high score as an all-female gunnery crew.”
“It feels really good knowing that I have an awesome team, and it lets us know as females, we understand what our responsibility is as a gunnery crew,” she explained.
Not only does this show the proficiency of the gunnery team, but it also shows how proficient Hampton is at leading the Soldiers under her.
“For us to perform that well, shows that the Soldiers listened to the instructions I gave them. As a leader that means a lot. By them taking time to listen and process the instructions helped us get to the finish line successfully,” said Hampton.
Hampton had faith in her team, but she wasn’t expecting the level of excellence her and the team displayed ahead of the very capable and experienced Soldiers within the unit. Hampton said, the unexpected success on the range has made her consider being a gunnery instructor as a possible next step in her career.
Spc. Caitlyn Webb, the crew’s gunner, is a manager at a major arts and crafts chain back home while not mobilized.
She shared her thoughts on what they accomplished as a team, and credited Hampton and the other senior gunners in the company for taking time to mentor and teach the specifics on how to complete the range successfully and how to excel.
“Between Sgt. Hampton, our crew leader, and the senior gunners in the company, we were fortunate to have amazing instructors like them,” Webb said.
846th Transportation Company’s senior gunner, Staff Sgt. Edsell E. Heath, and Staff Sgt. Brandon N. Moreno were recognized for their efforts with helping the unit successfully complete the gunnery range. Capt. Anthony J. Cunningham, 846th Executive Officer and lead training officer, was also included in the recognition.
“I feel the training went well especially since there were other commands involved,” Staff Sgt. Heath said.
“Since gunnery is pretty new to the reserve component, I’m happy that Sgt. Hampton’s crew was recognized for their accomplishments and the hard work they put into the training. I could tell their crew, along with the other crews, were putting in the time after hours – working and polishing their skills to successfully complete the range,” Heath said.
In a time of the Army’s “People First” initiative, it is important to Heath that they recognize the impeccable work the Soldiers across the company completed.
“Being awarded for hard work is a good thing. It not only lets those Soldiers know that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed, but it could also help motivate other Soldiers to step up,” he expressed, regarding recognition by 120th leadership.
Leadership from the 846th also shared their thoughts on the unit’s accomplishment.
"I’m just very proud of what the crew was able to accomplish, and the way they came together as a team,” said Capt. Thomas L. Davis, 846th company commander.
“I know Sgt. Hampton was enthusiastic about working with her crew. Seeing what they were able to make happen as new crew working together, is definitely a good thing to see,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony P. Abraham, company first sergeant for the 846th.
Spc. Hannah H. Sutphin, the gunnery crew driver and a house wife prior to mobilizing with the unit, revealed she is eyeing a move toward active duty status after this assignment.
Sutphin said, “I’m proud of our team and what we did here during this training. This surprise achievement has me thinking in terms of what could be next for me.”