News: 18th CSSB Warhammers officially end operations in Afghanistan with transfer of authority ceremony
Story by Staff Sgt. Lynne Lantin
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Soldiers of the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, out of Bamberg, Germany, transferred authority of its Afghanistan operations to the 68th CSSB out of Fort Carson, Colo., during a ceremony at Kandahar Airfield Feb. 24, 2013, signifying the end of its nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The 18th CSSB deployed to Afghanistan in June 2012 as part of the newly designated Central Command Materiel Recovery Element under the command of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade. The CMRE mission was to deconstruct and descope U.S. bases in Afghanistan.
The 18th CSSB was spread throughout Afghanistan in order to provide materiel recovery and retrograde support to the units on the battlefield. The battalion established and operated three retrosort yards located at Bagram Air Field, Kandahar Airfield and Camp Pratt in Mazar-e-Sharif. Items at the facilities are carefully sorted and excess materiel is either shipped out of Afghanistan back into the Army supply system or redistributed within the country to units who can reuse them, saving the U.S. military millions of dollars. The three facilities were vital in reducing excess materiel in Afghanistan.
“Welcome to today’s ceremony that pays full tribute to the phenomenal mission execution and accomplishments of the first CENTCOM recovery element to enter Afghanistan,” said Col. Douglas McArthur McBride Jr., commander of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade. “The 18th CSSB out of Germany arrived into Afghanistan with no clearly defined mission. Soldiers spread all over the battlefield with no real coherent task and purpose. They were ordered into combat based upon a newly devised concept called the CENTCOM Materiel Recovery Element.”
“When 18th CSSB arrived in theater, retrograde operations were a very immature operation being executed by existing sustainment organizations that were rightfully focused on sustainment and distribution,” added McBride. “Retrograde was not yet a priority, but we all know today it is. Container processing was approximately 400 containers per month but after fully establishing the retrosort yards and implementing six lean-six sigma projects, the 18th CSSB reorganized and revised the retrosort yard operations template and are now processing over 2,000 containers per month.”
The initiatives of the 18th CSSB during the past nine months have resulted in more than 12,000 containers of materiel worth more than $1 billion and processed out of theater or redistributed to the warfighters who need it.
“Your legacy in Afghanistan as the first CMRE sustainment battalion will live on in the units that replace you,” McBride told the Warhammer battalion. “You have blazed a trail and set the conditions to ensure that the U.S. meets its global obligations of closing out this theater of operations in Afghanistan in a responsible and mature manner. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication during a very critical time in our nation’s history. When the call of duty went out, you said, ‘send me.’”
Lt. Col. Michelle Letcher, the 18th CSSB commander, praised the Soldiers of the 18th CSSB and thanked them for their service.
“As always, you live Army strong, and you are ready to close this chapter that you have literally written,” said Letcher. “I am so proud to be a member of such a well- disciplined and motivated organization.”
“Nothing I can say can ever express the pride I have in your ability to accomplish the mission,” Letcher added. “I couldn’t be more proud and honored to serve you. Thank you for your service to our nation. This transfer of authority signifies that Headquarters, 18th CSSB is mission complete in Afghanistan. Warhammers, you’ve once again set the standard.”
This work, 18th CSSB Warhammers officially end operations in Afghanistan with transfer of authority ceremony, by SSG Lynne Lantin, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.