News: Keeping it smooth: The 1185th DDSB pass along experience, knowledge to their replacements
Story by Cpl. Ryan Hohman
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – The 1185th Deployment and Distribution Support Battalion marked the end of their deployment to Port Ash Shuaiba, Kuwait, during a transfer of authority ceremony to the 1188th Deployment and Distribution Support Battalion at the Zone 1 Gym, Sept. 22.
During their 10-month deployment, the 1185th DDSB loaded and discharged over 140 vessels, with more than 14,500 pieces of retrograded cargo through Port Ash Shuaiba. This effort allowed the equipment to be reset and returned to war fighting formations throughout the Army. They were vital part of the success of Operation Nickel II, the largest logistical operation since WWII.
“It gives us a big sense of accomplishment to know we played an integral part in one of the largest movements of equipment since WWII and also be a part of such a large milestone,” said Lt. Col. Walter Chwastyk, commander of the 1185th DDSB.
The 1185th DDSB redeployed 22 brigade-sized elements from Iraq and Afghanistan, which included the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. This movement brought Troop levels down to 50,000 in Iraq, as U.S. forces prepared to switch gears away from combat operations in Iraq and toward sustaining and maintaining the Troops of Operation New Dawn, which began Sept. 1.
“We were responsible for tracking and moving everything from a little box to a large tank back to the United States,” said Chwastyk. “We tracked multiple data systems so that we could make sure the right equipment was shipped at the proper time and to the right place.”.
Before the 1185th Soldiers prepared for redeployment, they first had to pass what they learned during their deployment to the incoming 1188th to ensure a seamless transition as the new unit assumes the Operation New Dawn mission.
“We really have learned a lot this past year,” said Spc. Branden Black, a native of Seattle, Wash., who serves as a cargo specialist with the 1185th DDSB. “It’s important for us to pass [our knowledge] onto the next guys so they are able to jump right in.”
“Working in this environment can be harsh,” said Black. “It’s hot, humid and sometimes the days seem to drag on, but it is vital that we continue to track all the equipment loading onto the ships and keep the safety standards that allow us to work at such a high tempo.”
Despite challenges the transition went smoothly.
“We have really learned a lot working with the [1185th DDSB],” said Spc. Kobi Johnson, a native of Hollywood, Fla., who serves as a cargo specialist with the 1188th DDSB. “They have shown us the processes of how to ensure we are properly verifying the cargo before it is loaded onto a ship, as well as the importance of building good relationships with the [third county nationals] who work on the port with us.”
With the transition complete, the 1188th is ready to assume military retrograde distribution and movement mission.
“Our goal working alongside the 1185th is to make it seems as though no transition even took place,” said Lt. Col. John Pistone, commander of the 1188th DDSB. “We are really excited to be here at the beginning of [Operation New Dawn], and we are looking forward to how we can make an impact on this new mission.”
This work, Keeping it smooth: The 1185th DDSB pass along experience, knowledge to their replacements, by SGT Ryan Hohman, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.