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    Sustainers complete historic mission

    3rd ESC completes historic mission

    Photo By Lt. Col. Jared Auchey | Brig. Gen. Donnie Walker Jr., commanding general of the 3rd Sustainment Command...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Jared Auchey 

    3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command

    BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - The 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) commemorated the culmination of their mission with a casing ceremony Dec. 1 at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

    The ceremony symbolized the end of operations for the 3rd ESC in Afghanistan. The 3rd ESC was the last ESC to provide single sustainment mission command in Afghanistan and was composed of more than 35,000 service members, Department of Defense civilians and contractors. They also managed many non-doctrinal responsibilities to include the redistribution, disposal, and retrograde of excess materiel, as well as the de-scope efforts associated with base closures across Afghanistan through the CENTCOM Materiel Recovery Element.

    The 3rd ESC deployed to Afghanistan in April of 2014. The 3rd ESC was responsible for successfully reducing the theater during the final stages of Operation Enduring Freedom and setting the conditions for Operation Resolute Support, beginning in 2015.

    The 3rd ESC accomplished what is seen as arguably the largest and most demanding retrograde of equipment and personnel in the Army’s modern era. This is due to the geographical location of Afghanistan and the aggressive timeline to retrograde equipment out of the country by the end of 2014.

    Reviewing the casing ceremony was Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, commanding general of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command. During his speech, Williams praised the 3rd ESC’s accomplishments supporting retrograde and sustainment operations.

    Williams said, “With the outstanding support given here, and the mission you accomplished during the historic final days of the drawdown, you have added to the already rich 3d ESC legacy.”

    During the deployment the 3rd ESC managed the closing or transfer of 61 bases, retrograded nearly 5,500 vehicles and more than 105,000 pieces of other equipment, all while sustaining U.S. and coalition forces across Afghanistan’s six regional commands.

    Brig. Gen. Donnie Walker Jr., commanding general of the 3rd ESC, and Clay County, Alabama native, discussed how Afghanistan is one of the most difficult locations to provide logistics and brought many challenges to the 3rd ESC which its Soldiers had to work tirelessly through to get the job done.

    Walker went on to say, “The Soldiers that comprise these ranks are truly logistical professionals and experts, and believe me… that they were put to the test.”

    The 3rd ESC was involved in Ph.D-level logistics using lessons learned from Iraq in order to get the mission accomplished. Afghanistan is a landlocked country and in order to retrograde equipment it was necessary to use every possible transportation node while at the same time placing an emphasis on the stewardship of resources and creating efficiencies.

    “We could not have accomplished any of this though without the support of our numerous strategic partners such as the Defense Logistics Agency, United States Transportation Command and Army Materiel Command, OSD and the DA staff to name just a few.”

    Walker went on to say, “Sustainment is a team sport, and it was an entire enterprise effort that resulted in our strategic and operational successes over this last year of OEF.”

    “I am extremely proud of our team – we have accomplished the mission provided and I know that we are prepared for whatever lies ahead – I am confident there is nothing we can’t do,” said Walker.

    He told the Soldiers standing in formation, “You all should be proud of the enduring, positive legacy you have left in Afghanistan and for upholding the great reputation of the 3d ESC.”

    Walker later discussed the monumental tasks that the 3rd ESC team was doing in Kuwait, as part of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (Operational Command Post) to support operations throughout Central Command’s area of responsibility in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. They supported operations in Kuwait, Jordan, Task Force Sinai in Egypt and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq among many others.

    Walker said the success of the mission was due to the Soldiers and their Families who supported them. He also noted the great support from the Fort Knox community.

    Following the ceremony Command Sgt. Maj. Edward A. Bell, command sergeant major of the 3rd Sustainment Command Expeditionary and Tarboro, North Carolina native said, “Throughout our battlefield circulations it was clearly evident that the centerpiece of success was our young men and women who worked diligently to accomplish the mission in some very austere environments.”

    Bell went on to say, “We were truly a team of teams comprised of all services along with DOD employees and contractors, who made mission by living by our watch words of maintaining “standards and discipline” in all we do”.

    The Soldiers from the 3rd ESC successfully completed their deployment to Afghanistan and will soon be completing their mission in Kuwait. The 3rd ESC will continue to provide exceptional logistical support in current and future operations.



    Date Taken: 12.01.2014
    Date Posted: 12.01.2014 07:20
    Story ID: 149066
    Location: BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF 
    Hometown: FORT KNOX, KY, US
    Hometown: HUNTSVILLE, AL, US
    Hometown: LINEVILLE, AL, US
    Hometown: LOUISVILLE, KY, US
    Hometown: TARBORO, NC, US

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