CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Soldiers of the 53rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion arrived in early March eager to take command of the Zone Six mayor cell here.
BSTB began the relief in place process as soon as they arrived under the guidance of the 115th Fires Brigade, said Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Zakrzewski of the BSTB, Zone Six senior enlisted advisor for the command and control of Zone Six. The 115th FiB based out of Wyoming left in late March after completing the RIP process and participating in the transfer of authority ceremony held here March 17th.
"The great benefit that we had is the RIP," said Zakrzewski. "Part of this was learning who the key people are, who you have to talk to, and who you have make friends with to accomplish something."
The intent of the Zone Six mayor cell is to sustain and improve the living conditions for all the troops whether they are transient or tenants here, said Zakrzewski.
Col. Donald Mason, BSTB commander and commander of Arifjan Zone Six, stated their goals include continuing the projects the 115th FiB began as well as finding their own projects to improve the Zone Six transient and tenant living areas.
"We're building a new tactical operation center; it will be two large tents and one smaller tent," Mason said. "We're also improving the drainage in the Triad TOC area."
Due to the drawdown in Iraq there will be a lot of transient troops moving through Zone Six and they could be here anywhere from one week to three months, said Zakrzewski.
Mason said that the camp population is approximately 6,500 and they anticipate around 5,500 to 7,000 transient troops a month throughout the deployment with a variety of different units.
"One of the keys to success for us and this has been emphasized from the brigade command throughout the mobilization, is flexibility," said Zakrzewski. "The Soldiers in this battalion have been very flexible when it comes to any requirements that they have and any changes."
Zakrzewski attributes the ability to be so flexible to the professionalism and the quality of the mid-level non-commissioned officers that they have in the BSTB.
BSTB has their work cut out for them during this deployment however, Zakrzewski and Mason are both very confident in their Soldiers ability to handle any challenges they may face as well as complete any tasks that may come their way.