News: 113th soldiers complete mission in Afghanistan
Story by Spc. Isaac Adams
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Soldiers of B-Company, 113th Special Troops Battalion, deployed from Greensboro, N.C., in December of 2011 in support of Operation New Dawn. Seven months later, B-Company received orders for a temporary duty assignment at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
The 113th soldiers set out into the different, but rewarding mission of the Kandahar Airfield Retrograde Sort Yard, or better known as the KAF RSY.
The retrograde process in Kandahar was in its infancy when the 113th arrived. When the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, or CSSB, assumed operational control of the facility in July, the first focus was reorganization and clean-up.
The 113th was attached to the 18th CSSB to serve as a bulk of the man-power. Soldiers from Bravo Company, 427th Brigade Support Battalion, of the N.Y. National Guard, and the 40th Quartermaster Company, from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii also work side-by-side at the KAF RSY.
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, a barbeque and festivities marked the hard work of 113th soldiers. Comrades from the other KAF RSY units seized this chance to say farewell to their friends.
113th soldiers were the sole workforce behind the receiving yard of the KAF RSY. Master Sgt. Walter Warren served as the yard supervisor, Sgt 1st Class White as the day shift supervisor, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Schaecher as the night shift supervisor.
The KAF RSY Ssldiers were flexible with the mixed leadership and the developing procedures of the retrograde process.
Spc. Amber Vandzandt, from Eden, N.C., worked in half of the six different sections of the yard. From the “customs and pallet build section” to the “moving to receiving”, and the “processing section”, Spc. Vandzandt spent all of her energy in providing the best she could.
“I spent most of my time working in [the] receiving [yard]. I was put in charge of pushing out all of the tires that we had in the yard.” Vandzandt stated, “That was definitely a frustrating job. I also drove a forklift, a lot, but my main job there, and what I got recognized for, was all of the tires.”
Sgt. Raymond James was a section leader for the receiving yard, and developed the plan to displace all of the materiel in the receiving yard to the main yard for re-distribution.
“Working outside of my regular job was fun; I enjoyed it, a lot of it. The hours were long, but I actually didn’t mind it.” Stated Staff Sgt. Michael Stalvey, “Sgt. [1st Class Sung] Park and Chief [Warrant Officer Sulaiman] Bah really supported the 113th really well.”
Vnadzandt also added“Sgt Park always made the day better. He didn’t even have to try. Whenever he came up to talk to you, he always made you feel good.”
A large contracted work force from Dyncorp International arrived at the KAF RSY through September. The 113th passed along their work experience accumulated in the three months to Dynacorp workers as a final mission at the KAF RSY.
In the last few weeks of their work at the yard, the soldiers of the 113th never slowed down, and push through at full force until the very end.
The soldiers of Bravo Company prepare to return to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, where they will reassemble with their battalion and brigade to return home to North Carolina.
At the farewell barbeque, an award ceremony honored outstanding soldiers of the company. Sgt. 1st Class Jeffery White, the day shift supervisor for the receiving yard, and Spc. Nicholas O’Conner, a soldier in the customs section received the Army Commendation Medal for their performance in the Kandahar Retro Sort Yard. 20 other 113th soldiers were recognized for their hard work and leadership with the Army Achievement Medal.
As she gears up and gets ready to go home to Lugoff, S.C, Sgt Tasha Towning, the processing supervisor for the night shift says, “I’m so glad to be going home. I feel like we’ve been gone forever, which we have. We’ve been gone since August, and now I’m ready to go.”