News: Sykes' Logistics Task Force keeps surrounding bases thriving
Story by Sgt. Keith Vanklompenberg
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION SYKES, Iraq — The Soldiers with the 506th Quartermaster Company's Logistics Task Force work with little supervision to support operations at Contingency Operating Location Sykes as well as the surrounding bases.
At COL Sykes, the LTF runs a fuel yard and the base's central receiving and shipping point, where it processes incoming and outgoing equipment and vehicles between Sykes and Contingency Operating Base Q-West, Iraq.
Supporting COL Sykes is just one facet of the 43-man LTF's mission.
A five-man food service team works to feed the smaller bases outside of COL Sykes.
"We provide sustenance for the outlying bases," said Pfc. Giovanni Perez, a food service specialist with the Logistics Task Force, 506th QM Company, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
Perez said his team consists of one non-commissioned officer, four junior enlisted Soldiers and a dozen local nationals. Together they fill food and drink orders for outside units to pick up, he said.
"We help the [local nationals] as much as we can, and they help us," said Perez.
The sustenance warehouse is the only site at COL Sykes that uses local nationals instead of government contractors, said Staff Sgt. Cristian Solano, the LTF platoon sergeant and an Elizabeth, N.J., native.
Although food is picked up by the units in need, the LTF transportation team delivers the other necessities, fuel and water, said Solano.
"We take fuel and water and resupply [Forward Operating Bases] Nimir and Heider," said Spc. Raymond Chew, a petroleum supply specialist on the LTF and a Fort Pierce, Fla., native.
Chew, who is serving his first deployment, said he moved from the fuel yard to the transportation team and enjoyed the opportunity to travel.
"It's cool to get off the [base] and see the little kids and things," he said.
When they are not convoying to resupply other bases, Chew said his team works on its vehicles with the maintenance team.
"Our maintenance team provides service for the whole platoon," said Solano. "It's a lot of work considering it's really only three mechanics."
The maintenance team has cross-trained Soldiers, including a plumber and two nuclear, biological and chemical equipment repairers, but they all work together to keep the LTF's vehicles on the road, said Solano.
Solano said roughly 60 percent of the LTF Soldiers are cross-trained, doing work outside their military occupational specialty, but it has not affected their mission effectiveness.
"They've done outstanding work since we've been here," Solano said. "They've been doing all this without the direct supervision of an officer."
The command staff of the 506th is stationed at Q-West, but the non-commissioned officers at COL Sykes ensure the team accomplishes their mission, said Solano.
"As a whole we've never failed," he said.
Perez said the key to the LTF's success is in its teamwork.
"Everybody's got to do their part," said Perez.