KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan—Thirty-one vibrant streamers embellish the 3rd Sustainment Brigade Colors. Each streamer represents a military campaign or operation that dedicated U.S. Army soldiers supported while the nation called upon them to provide logistics to the war fighter.
The 3rd Sustainment Brigade’s current leader, Col. Ron Novack, said it was the sacrifices that his predecessors made while participating in campaigns such as Luzon, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, that was at the forefront of his thoughts as he and Command Sgt. Maj. Forbes Daniels encased the unit’s Colors, Aug. 26, officially completing the Headquarters’ first combat tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“I believe (our past leaders and soldiers) also felt the same sense of pride, teamwork, mission accomplishment and euphoria about seeing their loved ones when their combat missions were complete,” said Novack after he concealed the Colors with a camouflaged cover, “just as Task Force Provider does today in Afghanistan as we’ve completed our mission and transferred authority to the 15th Sustainment Brigade.”
Led by Col. Curtis Johnson and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Parks, the Fort Bliss, Texas-based 15th Sustainment Brigade will now continue to the Provider’s mission and spearhead sustainment operations across Regional Commands South, Southwest and National Support Element-West.
It was throughout these three regions that the Providers ensured the war fighters maintained their freedom of action, unhindered by logistics, during the past nine months. Novack said that his brigade has always provided timely, logistical support regardless of the operational environment.
“This is our brigade’s fifth combat deployment in 10 years; the first to Afghanistan with the first four to Iraq,” he said. “The leaders and soldiers in this brigade headquarters have proven over the past nine months that they are adaptable and can provide sustainment and transition support-anytime, anywhere and in any environment. They are an extraordinary, talented team of sustainers who easily traded in forward operating bases and routes in Iraq named Warrior, Q-West, Balad and McHenry and Route Tampa for FOBs Tarin Kowt, Khenjakak, Leatherneck, Lashkar Gah, Qala-e-Naw and Highway 1.”
Everywhere I have traveled within the three regional commands, you could not have a conversation about sustainment without including Task Force Provider. From FOB Apache in RC-South across to FOB Islam Qala in NSE-West, TF Provider Soldiers were out on the tippy end of the sphere, day and night, making a difference—supporting forward to the foxhole by providing critical sustainment and ensuring each FOB, (combat outpost) or tactical infrastructure was closed or transferred on time.”
Critical sustainment to the war fighter meant that the Providers—a total Army team of active-duty, Army Reserve and National Guard-component soldiers—needed to traverse across some of Afghanistan’s most dangerous routes. During the 3rd Sustainment Brigade’s combat tour, nearly 400 military convoys were executed as troops travelled 1.1 million tactical miles, delivering more than 6,500 20-foot equivalent units of supplies and equipment. The providers also ensured the delivery of 200,000 rations and 3.3 million cases of bottle water; delivered 134 million gallons of fuel; received, stored and issued more than 26-million rounds of ammunition; managed five Supply Support Activities; delivered 18-million pounds of mail; processed 190,000 passengers through Kandahar Airfield and Bastion; managed multiple sustainment contracts and processed more than 155,000 financial transactions.
Additionally, the 3rd Sustainment Brigade expanded the Afghan Transportation Network’s operational reach in RC-South and increased ATN capability throughout RC-South, Southwest and NSE-West. The Providers assisted with the closure of 33 FOBs, COPs and tactical infrastructures, closed two SSAs and two Ammunition Supply Points.
Novack said his team built a ‘sterling reputation’ while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and attaining multiple accomplishments. As did Maj. Gen. Kurt Stein, commander of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, who thanked the 3rd Sustainment Brigade for a job well done.
“You came here with a tremendous reputation, and you leave with a tremendous reputation,” said Stein, before he presented the Bronze Star Medal to the 3rd Sustainment Brigade command team during the transfer of authority ceremony. “I wish you all the very best of success and joy and happiness as you head home to your loved ones.”
Novack credited the success of the deployment to a number of people and organizations, especially to the family members who await the team’s return to home-station, Fort Stewart, Ga.
“Thank you to our families back home who carry the heaviest ruck sacks, who road march the longest distances in our absence, and who keep the patrol bases in order until we return home from deployment,” said Novack. “There is a debt of gratitude that we can never repay to our families other than to continue to tell them every chance that we get ‘I love you and thank you for supporting me as a soldier.’”
The commander also addressed his headquarters, and thanked his troops for their service, commitment and sacrifice.
“I challenged you on our (transfer of authority) date—Christmas Eve 2012—that our Operation Enduring Freedom mission was going to be a tall order, but that you were trained and ready for the task at hand. Providers you did not disappoint. Thank you for your continued service to our nation; I am so proud of your accomplishments, and I’m humbled to have served in your ranks.”
||KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AF
||FORT STEWART, GA, US
||HINESVILLE, GA, US
||SAVANNAH, GA, US
||WEATHERLY, PA, US
||YUMA, AZ, US
This work, 3rd Sustainment Brigade Headquarters completes 1st Afghanistan deployment, by SFC Tanya Green, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.