News: Support Battalion provides critical lifeline to combat units
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MASUM GHAR, Afghanistan-- On an isolated Forward Operating Base in the middle of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, a soldier is printing important documents, running down the hall of the plywood tactical operations center and briefing his command group on an intelligence breakthrough.
A few miles away, patrolling for 12 straight hours, a combat medic is pushing through sleep deprivation to reach a battle buddy in need.
These two scenarios, although highlighting different aspects of war, may seem in many ways disconnected. But they’re not.
Behind each seamlessly unimportant stack of paper and every medical soldier throughout the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division lays the 25th Brigade Support Battalion.
Tirelessly, working around the clock, the 25th BSB provides everything ranging from weekly supply convoys-dropping off mail and supplies to fill the local post exchanges- to the very medics treating, evacuating and saving the lives of their fellow soldiers.
Altogether, the BSB is home to 49 different occupational specialties, which are spread out over four companies; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Distribution Company, Forward Maintenance Company and the Brigade Support Medical Company.
“The Brigade Support Battalion [BSB] is very unique, to say the least. We have 49 enlisted military occupational specialties along with over 60 officer and warrant positions,” said Lt. Col. John McMurray, commander of 25th BSB. “If everything is going well and all the battalions are able to receive the support they need, no one hears much about them.”
To provide the support necessary for more than 4,000 soldier, each company has specific tasks in which they have been extensively trained to execute.
For example, HHC soldiers specialize in food service, transportation and maintenance while the distribution company specializes in delivering important supplies like fuel and potable water.
One of the most important assets to any brigade combat team, the Brigade Support Medical Company is tasked with providing continuous medical support to every unit operating in ‘Task Force Arctic Wolves’ area of operations.
With a team of slightly more than 70 soldiers, the BSMC provides extensive care in a number of categories to include mental health, advanced trauma, X-ray and basic treatment.
Similar to fixing a patients’ wound, the Forward Maintenance Company is responsible for servicing and repairing almost every piece of equipment fielded throughout the entire brigade, whether, it’s fixing a set of night vision goggles or replacing the engine in a Stryker vehicle.
Whether, it’s providing some of life’s basic necessities like potable water or providing the technical expertise to fix a multi-million dollar piece of equipment, the ‘Opahey’ soldiers of the 25th BSB have proven themselves time and again.
When combined, the BSMC, FMC, DC and HHC provide an important lifeline to each soldier throughout the brigade. Although the concept of the BSB’s numerous capabilities may not be fully understood, even to many of the very soldiers they support within 1/25 SBCT, the blood and sweat of their efforts touch each Stryker soldier every day.