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    55th SB leaves behind memories, improvements in Afghanistan

    55th SB leaves behind memories, improvements in Afghanistan

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class John Zumer | U.S. Army Col. Martha Wilkins, the commander of the Fort Belvoir, Va., - based 55th...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. John Zumer 

    ISAF Joint Command

    KABUL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Afghanistan - High-tech weaponry and computer wizardry may capture the imagination of those following the U.S. military, but delivering the beans, bullets and fuel to Soldiers remains a crucial part of winning wars. For the leaders and Soldiers of the Fort Belvoir, Va., - based 55th Sustainment Brigade, the conclusion of their nine-month tour in Afghanistan showcased their important role in bringing those needed basics to the battlefield.

    “A tremendous learning experience,” said U.S. Army Col. Martha Wilkins, commander of the 55th SB and a native of San Antonio, in describing the deployment.

    Perhaps more importantly, however, was the two-way learning street maintained between her Soldiers and the Afghan National Security Forces during their time spent together.

    “We’ve worked hard to support the ANSF as they develop their logistics capability,” said Wilkins.

    As forces from the United States and international community reduce their involvement in Afghanistan, the ANSF has gradually transitioned to a more capable force that handles all combat operations. The 55th SB has played a large, behind-the-scenes role in helping to improve the supply and record keeping capabilities, among other logistical areas, of the ANSF.

    “The Soldiers have put their heart and soul into the mission and done a tremendous job,” said Wilkins.

    One Soldier, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Noval Wright, and a Roanoke, Va., native, couldn’t agree more. He was equally happy to share the stories that went beyond simply advising their ANSF comrades on supply techniques and other logistical improvements.
    Wright, an automated logistical specialist, said the soldiers from the different countries worked very well together and quickly became friends. Those forged friendships will long be remembered, he said, even after the excitement of the 55th SB returning home to the United States wears off.
    “It’s stuff like that which makes it all worthwhile,” said Wright.
    During the deployment more than a dozen logistical sites, along with other supply functions, transitioned to ANSF responsibility. Those many lasting accomplishments where the 55th SB helped the ANSF grow in their capabilities and performance haven’t gone unnoticed.
    Australian Army Brig. Gen. David Shields, the NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan Deputy Commander for Support Operations, spoke at the end of mission ceremony on April 3 that recognized the 55th SB and their many accomplishments. He singled out Wilkins and her Soldiers for helping bring about numerous logistical changes that will serve the ANSF well in the years ahead.

    “She displayed the leadership, guidance, mentoring and care that a great commander provides,” said Shields.

    And while thoughts of home, Families and vacations now occupy the thoughts of most 55th SB Soldiers after a long deployment, the passage of time may allow for a greater appreciation of what each was able to contribute toward a higher goal.

    “Each of us, to a certain extent, has been invested in the future of Afghanistan,” said Wilkins.



    Date Taken: 04.04.2014
    Date Posted: 04.06.2014 13:04
    Story ID: 124531
    Hometown: ROANOKE, VA, US
    Hometown: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US

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