News: New Haven, Conn., Soldiers finish yearlong tour
Story by Sgt. Matthew Cooley
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq — The 395th Combat Sustainment Support Brigade, 15th Sustainment Brigade and 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) cased their colors at a ceremony April 7 at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation tent here signifying the end of the unit's yearlong deployment to Iraq.
The New Haven, Conn., based reserve logistics unit is not scheduled to be replaced as part of the Army's ongoing effort to reduce its presence in Iraq.
Companies under the battalion that have not yet completed their tour now fall under 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sust. Bde.
According to the unit's records, the 395th supported more than 40,000 personnel, completed 2,240 convoy missions, drove more than 1 million miles, moved 5 million short tons of supplies, oversaw 35 million gallons of fuel, 4 million cases of food and bottled water, managed an ammunition supply point with more than 300,000 pounds of net explosive weight, kept 90 percent of 1,200 vehicles ready at all times.
"395th, your accomplishments speak for themselves through the flawless execution of the mission we were tasked with," said Lt. Col. Dennis E. Dockery, commander of the 395th from New Haven, Conn.
"Less than one percent of our population hangs up a uniform next to their suits and polo shirts. You are just as rare as a professional athlete," Dockery told the Soldiers.
Dockery spoke of his Soldiers' accomplishments, naming many of them by name. At the end of his speech, the Soldiers in attendance rose to their feet in an impromptu standing ovation for their commander.
After the colors were cased, Dockery and members of the battalion and brigade command teams awarded medals to the Soldiers including multiple Bronze Stars, Army Commendation Medals, and Army Achievement Medals.
Four Soldiers were awarded the Combat Action Badge, an honor reserved only for those who directly engage or are engaged by the enemy.
As is his custom, Col. Larry Phelps, 15th Sust. Bde. commander and Greenville, Ala., native, called up Soldiers of various ranks who were previously identified by the battalion's senior noncommissioned officer, to receive the 15th Sust. Bde. coin. Phelps said the coin was difficult to earn and he wished he could give all of the 395th Soldiers one.
Afterwards, Phelps spoke to the Soldiers about one of his favorite historical Soldiers, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin, who fought during the civil war and was famous for one battle in which he received multiple gunshot wounds while refusing to allow the national colors to go down, rallying the Soldiers to victory.
Phelps also spoke about awards and how the Soldiers could best reintegrate into their civilian lives.
"Awards are won on the backs of those you work with, those you work for, and those who work for you," Phelps said, claiming that winning an award was more about being in the right place, with the right people, at the right time than anything else.
He encouraged the Soldiers to take it slow when they returned home and empathized with their situation.
"When I get back I'm going to set things straight," he said, mimicking some returning Soldiers' attitudes about their household.
"Let me know how that works for you, player," Phelps told them.
He stressed that deployments change Soldiers and that their families changed too. Children were now one year older and families learned how to get along without their deployed family member. Phelps encouraged them to not attempt to quickly change everything upon their return.
Phelps also mentioned that he was proud of them.