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    Forward Logistics Element sustains, maintains warfighters in Syria

    Forward Logistics Element sustains, maintains warfighters in Syria

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Charlotte Reavis | NORTHERN Syria – A member of kitchen patrol serves meals in the dining facility to...... read more read more

    Northern Syria – While people may know that U.S. Soldiers are in Syria fighting ISIS, what they may not know about are the sustainers supporting those soldiers as they fight.
    The 1st Theater Sustainment Command’s Forward Logistics Element, located within Syria, is responsible for sustaining the warfighter's needs, while engaging the enemy. “We are in charge of keeping everybody here sustained with everything from food to fuel to ammo” said Lt. Hayes McDowell, the officer-in-charge of the FLE and member of the 787th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, based out of Dothan, Ala. “We work closely with Special Forces here; and as they are out fighting, and they take land, we are right behind them making sure they get what they need.”
    In general, Forward Logistics Elements are unique because they are comprised of soldiers from all Army components- Guard, Reserve and Active Duty, in addition to various units tasked to provide support to the area they are located within.
    “Within the FLE we have cooks, postal, mortuary affairs, ammo soldiers, fuel soldiers, supply soldiers,” McDowell said. “We also have 88Ms (truck drivers) that drive our PLS’s (palletized load systems), operation handlers to run the CRSP (Central Receiving and Shipping Point) yard, everything you can think of.”
    The Syrian FLE has a unique role because unlike the FLEs in within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, the soldiers run the operations themselves and do not have contractors to support their day-to-day operations.
    McDowell said his soldiers are the ones that order, cook and serve the food in the dining facility at his location. They also receive and distribute mail, fuel, cargo and ammo all over the country.
    “It’s pretty simple,” he said. “If we weren’t here, getting the soldiers what they need at a moment’s notice, then they wouldn’t be effective at all. For example, we had an emergency resupply, mid fight and had we not been there to do that, they would have had to stop fighting and would have lost that position. I think we make an immediate impact.”
    McDowell also said since he and his team have overseen the FLE, they have done what they can to continuously improve, not just their location, but the locations they support in country. He said they have been able to do convoy operations out to forward outposts and ensure those posts have at least two weeks’ worth of supplies whereas before, they did not have that support.
    “Someone asked me the other day, ‘what legacy have you left here, what have you done personally to change it’ and I think we have made strides to extend beyond our location,” the Conway, S. C. native said.
    McDowell and his team also pay close attention to the significant act reports they receive and forecast what the soldiers fighting may need within an appropriate timeframe and get them those supplies.
    “It has matured me a lot as a leader to be here in this position,” McDowell said of his time in charge of the FLE. “We don’t have to sit around and wait on approval to do things, which makes things move pretty fast. If we need to do something, we just execute right then and there.”
    Having soldiers from different units and different Army components has been a challenge at times, McDowell said, however, it has provided him with a wide variety of skillsets and personalities.
    “From the time an individual gets off the plane here, we ingrain in them that they’re here for one reason- to defeat ISIS,” he said. “That’s kind of what keeps us as a team, we know that no matter what component we come from, what unit we come from, we are all here with one common goal.”



    Date Taken: 11.03.2018
    Date Posted: 11.19.2018 09:46
    Story ID: 300462
    Location: SY

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