CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait -- Operation New Dawn has often been challenging for some of the troops, especially those of the 1st Battalion, 160th Field Artillery, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma National Guard who were slated to go to Afghanistan in June 2011, but a new mission from the Department of Defense sent them to Kuwait in July 2011 under the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division.
While stationed on Camp Buehring and Camp Virginia, Kuwait, reconstructing the Camp Buehring Camp Command Cell has been no easy task for these soldiers. They provided continuance to all the sustainment and contracting operations that support the service members at Camp Buehring whether they’re there to train or live.
“During our time here the camp has transitioned from an ROSOI base, a reception and staging base, to an actual permanent party site where you can stay here and train to prepare for contingency operations, and so the population of the camp went from about 3,500 to about 11,500 in a three month period,” said Lt. Col. Jimmy Thomas, a Oklahoma City, Okla., native and commander of the 1st Bn., 160th FA.
But that wasn’t the only impact these Oklahoma National Guardsmen had on Operation New Dawn while most of 1st Bn., 160th FA was stationed at Camp Buehring. The soldiers from Alpha Company, 1st Bn., 160th FA, however were given the Gateway security escort mission where they provided escort and security for all the buses that moved the soldiers between the camps and to the airport and back.
“We ended up conducting more then 10,000 of the escort missions and the soldiers drove over 650,000 miles doing those missions in the nine months we were here,” said Thomas.
While Alpha Company was out on the roads of Kuwait, others worked in the Camp Buehring dinning facilities where they were able to serve over 2.5 million meals.
Given all the challenges that Operation New Dawn has provided them with, these soldiers are more than excited to return to Oklahoma to reconnect with friends and family upon their redeployment.
“I want to thank all the friends and family members for your support while the soldiers have been deployed—the soldiers deal with a lot on a deployment and sometimes they don’t really realize how much stress they’re under until that stress is removed, and so the families and the leadership need to stay in touch with the soldiers,” said Thomas.
The 1st Bn., 160th FA will spend the next few days out processing at Camp Shelby, Miss., before they return home.
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