News: Onward, home!
Story by T. D. Jackson
CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ind. — After the barbeque grills were put away and the fireworks had died down, Soldiers from the 679th Movement Control Team crept into Camp Atterbury in the middle of the night Sunday.
The nation had just finished celebrating the anniversary of America's freedom and these Soldiers had a hand in maintaining that civil liberty.
The 679th MCT, which is out-processing here, recently returned from a one-year deployment to Iraq where they were responsible for the planning, routing, scheduling, controlling, coordination, and in-transit visibility of personnel, units, equipment, and supplies in the Joint Base Balad area of operations. The MCT is the basic and most critical level in the movement control process and the 679th received many accolades for a job well done.
"We got a lot of recognition for what we did," said Sgt. 1st Class Patrise Carpenter of Baltimore, Md. "It's a big task to get equipment where it needs to be in a timely manner," she said. "Units would come by and thank us and people generally felt we were very knowledgeable and helpful."
Master Sgt. Robert Zurasky, the unit non-commissioned officer-in-charge, said the 679th developed a Convoy Support Center, which was like a one-stop shop for convoys.
"We could get them anything they needed...rest, refuel, arrangements for transportation movement requests," he said. "It became a pretty big operation," he said.
Zurasky, of Slippery Rock, Pa., said while his time in theater was quite an experience he most definitely was glad to be back in the United States.
"That's an understatement," he said. "I'll be more excited once I get home."
The commander of the unit, Capt. Mark McBride, is also glad to be back on familiar ground.
"I'm just enjoying the U.S. and appreciating the freedom we have here," he said.
McBride, of Hagerstown, Md., said although the mission the unit had was very demanding, the 679th was one of the most successful MCTs in Iraq. More than 4,000 convoys transited the Joint Base Balad Convoy Support Center and they uploaded and/or downloaded cargo from more than 100,000 trucks.
"It's like doing air traffic control on the ground," McBride said. "There are a lot of moving pieces that come together to supply the troops with what they need," he said. "And we were the [ones] that made it happen."
McBride said one characteristic he appreciated about the Soldiers was that they never backed down from a challenge.
"We did a few mobile MCT missions where we had to separate the unit into small groups and yet we still accomplished the mission," he said. "The 679th definitely left its footprint in the sand."