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    1st Cavalry Division, 553rd Division Sustainment Support Battalion, Charlie Company Deployment to Kuwait



    Story by Spc. Brayton Daniel 

    1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade

    FORT HOOD, Tx -- The 1st Cavalry Division, 553rd Division Sustainment Support Battalion, Charlie Company, returned home on May 8 from a nine month deployment to Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
    Charlie Company’s primary effort during the deployment was to provide heavy lift assets to the U.S. Central Command Theater of Operations in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
    Over the course of the nine months, Charlie Company completed 313 missions, moved over 370 tracked vehicles and traveled a total of 283,000 miles.
    In spite of all they accomplished in Kuwait, success just didn’t fall in their lap. Charlie Company worked to overcome several challenges throughout their deployment.
    “One challenge that hit us right out of the gate was the temperature, and being able to operate through the heat,” says 1st Lt. Seth Heart, Charlie Company Executive Officer.
    “The biggest challenge we faced was the actual composition of our fleet,” says Alteri.
    Charlie Company has 16 Heavy Equipment Transporters (HET’s) when stationed at Fort Hood. While they were in Kuwait, their fleet consisted of 68 HET’s.
    “The amount of maintenance that it takes to keep a HET on the road, let alone an aging up-armored HET is a tremendous challenge,” says Alteri. “The maintenance on that fleet of vehicles on top of our combat vehicles was a big problem we faced, and it took a long time for us to just get above water as far as maintenance goes.”
    Lt. Col. Ryan H. Swedlow, 142nd CSSB Commander, was eventually able to down size Charlie Company’s fleet from 68 to 24 HET’s in their operational fleet.
    “We worked very closely with our battalion command in Kuwait, as well as 101st Division, Sustainment Brigade, in what we called Right Size the HET Fleet,” says Heart.
    When on deployment, physical challenges are not the only obstacle to be overcome.
    “Another one of our challenges was keeping morale high in a deployed environment,” says Alteri. “It is a combination of keeping people gainfully employed, giving them a purpose, and making sure they know that everything they’re doing is in direct support of combat operations.”
    “We had 260 people in the company before we deployed,” says Alteri. “After Soldier Readiness Processing, that went down to about 140, and we were given about 100 soldiers from other units.”
    Because Charlie Company lost half of their soldiers, and being handed 100 new soldiers, they struggled with the identity of the company.
    Troopers in Charlie Company were able to come up with several mottos that were put to a vote, the outcome being one motto that everyone was able to connect with, not just in themselves, but in each other.
    “About halfway through the deployment we came up with a new company vision and motto,” says Alteri. “The vision was train to standard and take care of our own. For our motto, at formation, 1st Sgt. would say mission first, and the soldiers would reply with family always.”
    “The motto is very fitting, and I think it steers towards the direction we need to go in,” says Heart. “We need to be more cohesive and tight knit, and this motto is a representation of just that.”
    Now that Charlie Company is back, their focus is going to shift from playing catch up in maintenance, to playing catch up to the high level of readiness the battalion maintained while they were deployed.
    “We’re going to pull the company back into one piece and then we’re getting back into work,” says Alteri. “Simple as that.”



    Date Taken: 05.13.2021
    Date Posted: 05.14.2021 14:47
    Story ID: 396352
    Location: FORT HOOD, TX, US 

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