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Final edition of the durable dispatch compressed version Final edition of the durable dispatch compressed version Document Transcript

  • DurableDispatchSpecial Troops Battalion completesdiverse mission to support U.S. &Coalition Forces* 280 Soldiers will return to Fort Riley, Kan. in the coming days, after a 9month deployment to Afghanistan.‘Durable’ Brigade welcomes 6 tothe Sgt. Audie Murphy Club* Soldiers partake in a series of events evaluating them on their abilities toperform warrior tasks and their leadership stylesTask Force Reliable; diversemission, diverse training* Leaders engage in practical exercises to gain a better understanding of airdrop and postal operationsWant to see more photos of DURABLE Troops? Checkout the 1st Sustainment Brigade’s Facebook page at:www.facebook.com/1stSustBde
  • Durables dialogueAs the days in theater for Task Force Durable come to a close, ourSoldiers remain as committed as ever to providing the best sustain-ment and retrograde support to the thousands of Service Membersand Coalition Forces spread throughout eastern and northernAfghanistan. As I have said on many occasions, the Soldiers, Sail-ors and Airmen of TF Durable are dedicated professionals whosecontributions have been recognized at the highest levels.In March TF Durable hosted several personnel from the 101stSustainment Brigade for their Leaders’ Recon and Staff Embed.During this time the 101st Sust. Bde. leaders and staff were fully in-tegrated into the daily operations of TF Durable allowing them togain a better understanding of current and future operations andprocesses. The knowledge gained was then used to help the 101stSust. Bde. better train and prepare for the day they take over sus-tainment and retrograde operations. As we move into the transi-tion I have challenged our Soldiers to set processes and proceduresin place so that the 101st Sustainment Brigade is better than wewere when we took over operations. I have no doubt the Soldiersof TF Durable are up to this challenge and will do all they can toensure the 101st Sust. Bde team is postured for success immediatelyon arrival to Afghanistan.With the advance party of the 101st Sust. Bde. on the ground wemove into the final stage of our deployment and the Soldiers of TFDurable are once again proving they are the best at what they do.These final days of the deployment can be very hectic and stressfulas Soldiers work to ensure their counterpart is prepared to takeover the mission as well as prepare themselves for the transitionof going home. It won’t be easy and there will be some long daysahead but I know our Soldiers will manage with ease.To our Durable Families and friends, I cannot thank you enoughfor your unwavering support of our Soldiers. Your support hasbeen a cornerstone of the great success we have had while con-ducting operations throughout this deployment. Although wehave missed many births, sports games, dance recitals, birthdaysand graduations, the support you provide to our Soldiers is trulyinvaluable. Thank you!“Always Ready!”Col. Brian TempestThroughout the deployment I have challenged TF Durable Soldiersto remain focused as if it was still ‘Day 31.’ At ‘Day 31’ Soldiers arestarting to figure things out but are not so far along in the deploy-ment that they become complacent. Even though we have just a fewweeks left in Afghanistan we are still at ‘Day 31.’ We won’t hit ‘Day32’ until we have completed the Transfer of Authority and are readyto get on a plane headed to Fort Riley, Kan.To the Soldiers of TF Durable, the great successes we have hadthroughout this deployment are a direct reflection of your diligenceand determination to provide the best support possible. Youraccomplishments have been recognized and applauded from thelowest levels all the way to the highest and will positively impact theWarfighter outside the wire long after you are gone. Well done, butdon’t forget we are not at Day 32 yet.In these final days we have welcomed Soldiers from the 101stSustainment Brigade into our ranks as we prepare to transitionand hand over the mission. Though the days ahead may be longand frustrating I encourage you to take a moment to rememberthe bigger picture. The ultimate goal is to conduct the transition insuch a way that the warfighter outside the wire is unaware we havedeparted and the 101st Sust. Bde is able to assume responsibilitywith little doubt they are prepared to take on the task.To our Families and loved ones back home, your continued supporthas been absolutely crucial to the success of the TF Durable deploy-ment. Your support has given our Soldiers peace of mind to allowthem to remain focused on the task at hand and for that I cannotthank you enough.“Sustain to Victory!”Command Sgt. Maj. McCloudSustain to Victory
  • Capt. Kymberly KoenigTask Force Durable Public Affairs Audie Murphy became the most decorated Soldier duringWorld War II. He was awarded 33 awards, to include the Medalof Honor, the highest military award for bravery. The MOH isawarded for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk ofhis life above and beyond the call of duty.”During battle, Murphy killed 240 enemy forces while woundingand capturing many others. He enlisted into the Army as a Privateand quickly rose to the ranks of Staff Sergeant before receiving abattlefield commission to 2nd Lieutenant. During the war he was wounded three times while fightingin 9 major campaigns. Throughout Murphy’s 3 years of active dutyservice during WWII he became one of the best combat Soldiers ofall time. On April 19, 2013 the 1st Sustainment Brigade welcomedsix additional members to the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. The6 Noncommissioned Officers went through a series of selectionboards prior to their acceptance into the SAMC. “We were asked a lot of situation questions that put usinto ethical dilemmas while at the same time tested our knowledgeand discipline of the study material and to see how we are underpressure,” said Staff Sgt. Stephen Harris, platoon sergeant, 1stSupport Maintenance Company, 1st Sust. Bde.The Soldiers partook in the two day event at Kandahar Airfield,Afghanistan where they were evaluated on their abilities toperform warrior tasks and interviewed regarding Murphy’s lifeand their leadership styles explained Staff Sgt. Raju Dhakal, squadleader, 1st Sust. Bde. “While studying for the board, I felt like I had a brother Inever met before but knew so much about,” he added. Harris, a native of El Paso, Tx. said he utilized theassistance of other Soldiers and their specialties within the unit tohelp him prepare for the board. “I would go to the supply sectionasking about the Financial Liability Investigation of PropertyLoss process or ask the communications section to instruct me onloading and setting up communication systems.” Soldiers strive to be a member of the SAMC for a variety ofreasons. The eight year veteran added, “I originally thought Ididn’t fit the characteristics of a SAMC member. My mentorsexplained to me, my leadership style, caring attitude for Soldiers,discipline and loyalty I displayed to my unit demonstrated that Iwas already a SAMC member, just without a medallion.”“I believe I didn’t have to be a member of the Sergeant AudieMurphy Club in order to take care of my Soldiers. As aNoncommissioned Officer in the Army, I am obligated to take careof my Soldiers,” explained Dhakal. “I want to be part of this clubbecause this club goes out in the community and represents notjust the Army but the NCO Corps of the Army. I want to educateSoldiers about the sacrifices that our ancestor made in order tosustain freedom.” “The candidates that I was studying with inspired me;their stories, their knowledge and their expertise,” he added.Dhakal, a native of Silva, Illinois who has served 9 yearsexplained, “The board is about you as a NCO. Go out there andrepresent you as a Sergeant in the Army. In my eyes everybody isa leader with different leadership skills and I think that’s whatthis board and award is all about. It recognizes a NCO accordingto their ability to lead and train Soldiers and better the Army forfuture generations.” “The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club isn’t just a board andwearing a medallion, it’s a lifestyle,” added Harris.The 1st Sustainment Brigade welcomed 6 new Noncommissioned Officers to theSgt. Audie Murphy Club Apr. 19, 2013. The Soldiers partook in a two day eventat Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan where they were evaluated on their abilitiesto perform warrior tasks and interviewed regarding Murphy’s life and leadershipstyles. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Kymberly Koenig, Task Force Durable PublicAffairs)‘Durable’ Brigade welcomes 6 to the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club
  • Sgt. V. Michelle WoodsTask Force Durable Public Affairs The Durable Brigade bid farewell to the 396thTransportation Company and welcomed their replacements, the1084th Transportation Company during a transfer of authorityceremony at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan April 27, 2013. The Louisiana National Guard Unit’s primary mission is toprovide convoy security in addition to transporting supplies. “Our primary mission here is to provide convoy securityto host nation trucks delivering commodities to various forwardoperating bases,” said 1st Sgt. Howard L. Ivory, an Alexandria,Louisiana native. Capt. Anthony L. Garrison, 1084th TransportationCompany Commander said his Soldiers were well-trained andprepared for their mission in Afghanistan. “We did convoy escort training, weapons qualificationson several different weapons to include the Common RemotelyOperated Weapon and many culminating training exercises at Ft.Hood, Texas as well as our home station in Louisiana,” said the 20year veteran. “Everything we did was battle-focused,” added Ivory, whohas served for 24 years. “We trained in every aspect of moving outas a convoy escort team and having those Soldiers work together asa team so those wrinkles were ironed out prior to getting here.” The 396th Trans. Co. completed a nine-month deploymentand returned to their home-station at Fort Stewart, Ga. Theoutgoing company transferred their authority as well as theknowledge they gained during their support of Operation EnduringFreedom. “It’s been a very smooth transition,” said Garrison. “Ican’t thank Cpt. Raymond Willson and his team enough for layingeverything out and helping us prepare for the mission.” The 1084th Trans. Co. has a mixture of first time deployersand combat veterans however the command team said they feelvery confident in their troops’ ability to successfully complete themission. “We do have a lot of young Soldiers,” added Garrison. “Wealso have Soldiers with multiple deployments so I’m very confidentthat with the mix of experience in the company, we are going tohave a successful deployment,” added Garrison.The 1084th Transportation Company assumes convoy operations
  • Capt. Kymberly KoenigTask Force Durable Public Affairs The Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade,1st Infantry Division will return to Fort Riley, Kan. in thecoming days, after a 9 month deployment to Afghanistan. Thediverse ‘Reliable’ Battalion comprised of military police andquartermaster detachments, ordnance, finance and humanresource companies provided support to U.S. and Coalition Forces,contractors and civilians throughout Regional Command’s East,North and Capital. Lt. Col. Charles Stamm, commander, STB, said thebattalion was responsible for postal, custom and aerial deliveryoperations as well as ammunition support. “Our support to U.S. Forces consisted of providing neededammunition, sending and receiving mail and providing fundsfor Eagle Cash Cards which allowed Soldiers access to neededfunds. Our Paratroopers rigged parachute bundles of supplies to bedropped to Soldiers in remote regions, otherwise inaccessible,” headded. The unit which deployed in unison with the brigade’sheadquarters experienced the diversity of a sustainment brigadefirst hand. The unit which deploys in modularity and gains newunits upon deployment oversaw 7 companies with 7 differentmission sets designed to enable combat operations. The battalionwas comprised of a mixture of active duty, Army Reserve, NationalGuard, Air Force and Navy units. The unit was faced with many challenges during thedeployment due to the continuous changes as they turned over 6companies and 20 detachments during their 9-months in theater. “The Soldiers of our Battalion performed remarkablywell despite their own challenges of Force Management cuts. TheSoldiers, faced with a significant mission, rose to the event withlaudable comments from across the theater,” said Command Sgt.Major Thomas Moore, senior enlisted advisor, STB. “They trulyembodied our motto as ‘Always Reliable.’” The 28 year veteran from Pittsburgh, Pa. explained, “Overthe years of continuous deployments our Soldiers develop uniqueskills to adapt and take on these challenges. By being agile leaders,adaptive Soldiers contributed to our success. They respond tochallenges that no other force in the world can do.” ‘Reliable’ Soldiers worked to reduce the need of resourcesthroughout Afghanistan in preparation for the drawdown of forces. Stamm, a 21 year veteran from Iowa Park, Texas added,“Whether it was turning in excess equipment, reconsolidating andreorganizing hundreds of containers full of supplies, decreasingreliance of civilian contractors, or working to wean AfghanistanSpecial Troops Battalion completes diverse mission to support U.S. & Coalition Forcesfrom the U.S. Dollar to the Afghan Dollar to build their economy,the ‘Reliable’ Soldiers impact touched thousands of Soldiers duringour deployment.” The ‘Reliable’ Battalion rigged more than 3,000 air dropbundles, totaling over 4 million pounds of supplies to forces inoutlying regions. The finance detachments processed 50% of thefinancial transactions throughout theater through local nationalpayouts, deposits and withdrawal transactions. In addition, thehuman resource companies processed 10 million pounds of mailduring the holiday season. During a ceremony just days before leaving theater,Stamm told the Soldiers, “I want all of you to know that what wedid is important to the Warfighter and that each member of theteam was vitally important to our success.”
  • Capt. Kymberly KoenigTask Force Durable Public Affairs After nearly 9 months have passed during a unit’sdeployment, the suspense of returning home to loved ones and thethings missed while being across the world is at the forefront of anySoldier’s mind. Before a unit is able to board the plane to departtheater they must go through a series of events to ensure they aresafely preparing to return home. The 396th Military Police Company, Special TroopsBattalion, Task Force Durable serves as customs agents at BagramAirfield, Afghanistan and is responsible for clearing all items andpersonnel, to include troops, civilians and contractors returning tothe United States. “We make sure everything going back to the States issafe to go back there and nothing is hazardous to people’s safetyor agriculture safety,” explained Spc. Zachary Gardner, customsinspector, 396th Military Police Co. During a unit’s last few months in theater as they arepreparing to pack their items in containers to be shipped to theirhome station by boat, the Soldiers from the 396th Military PoliceCo. must inspect every box and container to prevent contrabandand prohibited items returning with the Soldiers. Departing theater is a two step operation, explained Sgt.1st C;ass Robert Anderson, shift supervisor, 396th Military PoliceCo. “About two weeks prior to the container’s scheduled departurethe unit makes an appointment to have us inspect the cargo andcontainers to be shipped,” he said. “We look for cleanliness of the container to ensure thereisn’t any dirt or residue,” added Gardner. “We must enforce allUnited States Department of Agriculture regulation to ensure thatnothing that could be harmful to the environment is brought back.In addition, the unit must lay all of their items out to be inspected,ensuring no contraband items are present.” Since assuming their mission in November, the unit hasinspected over 1,700 containers worth of equipment. The unit which began preparing for their mission lastspring received training with the United States Customs and BorderControl Agents (CBCA). They worked with the US Customs at theborder and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at theEl Paso airport to train on the Department of Homeland Security’sregulations. “During training, we learned searching procedures, thecharacteristics to look for in people and where to look for itemspeople may be trying to hide contraband,” explained Gardner.On the day of their scheduled flight the unit arrives at thepassenger terminal to get manifested for that flight. The Soldiers396th Military Police Co. serves as custom agentsreceive a brief for packing their checked baggage, notifying them ofany prohibited items in which they have ten minutes to dispose ofthem. Following this, a scene similar to that at an airport formsas Soldiers line the terminal, remove all items from their pocketsand place them in bins on a conveyer belt. Bags are run through ascanning device where items unable to be identified are recognizedand further searched. “We’re doing a mission where we have to focus ourattention at the spur of a moment. We have to stay focused forhours at a time looking for items as they run through the scanners,”said Anderson. The unit clears an average of 14,900 bags and 4,700personnel each month while identifying over 7,600 items that couldbe of hazard to the United States. “It could be done elsewhere but here we have a frontlineview to ensure no ammunition or explosives get transported ona military plane,” said Gardner. “We have seized drugs, steroids,illegal substances and made sure they are stopped here rather thanmoved elsewhere.” The clearance from the 396th Military Police Co. is thefinal step a unit must receive prior to boarding the plane destinedfor home.Sgt. Tiffany Krumsiek, 396th Military Police Company, Special Troops Battal-ion, Task Force Durable nspects the items of a ‘Wings of Destiny’ Soldier fromthe 101st Combat Aviation Brigade April 17, 2013 to ensure no items that couldbe of hazard to the United States are shipped home. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt.Kymberly Koenig, Task Force Durable Public Affairs)
  • Sgt. V. Michelle WoodsTask Force Durable Public Affairs In a technology-dependent world where wars are foughtusing computers and unmanned planes, the Soldiers of 267thSignal Company, 1034th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion,Task Force Durable provide critical communications support forunits throughout northern and eastern Afghanistan. Although they deployed as a whole, the flexible andversatile unit is dispersed to Bagram Airfield, Camp John Pratt andJoint Combat Outpost Hairatan. “For us as communicators, the most important part ofour mission is ensuring that our communications equipment is upand running properly,” said 1st Lt. Calvin K. Wu, platoon leader,267th Signal Co. “We perform maintenance on the equipment,adjust our equipment due to changes in weather, ensure that theright communications security is in place and coordinate or bringour own power sources. This is done constantly to ensure thatcommunications never suffers.” “We maintain the Joint Network Node and SatelliteTransportable Terminal, which provides the backbone tocommunication to support the units which need access to phoneand data,” said Sgt. Anthony Johnson, JNN team chief, 267th SignalCo. “Without the JNN and STT, the supported units wouldn’t havesecure communication.” In addition to providing signal support, Soldiers deployedto JCOP Hairatan also provide base security by manning the guardtowers, said Sgt. Dustin Lamar Scott, radio team chief, 267thSignal Co. As with any deployment, troops are often faced withpersonal and professional challenges. Wu said that some of the professional challenges Soldiersface on this deployment is the limited resources when trying to finda solution to a problem. “In the rear, if something gets broken, we could easily goout and buy that part and make the repairs,” said the Mississippinative. “When we are deployed, we no longer have that luxury.Creative problem-solving is not only encouraged, but sometimesrequired when making the mission happen.” Wu, Johnson and Scott all agreed the biggest personalchallenge Soldiers face while deployed is being away from loved-ones. “The Soldiers miss family and friends, no doubt, butoverall they know we will be back soon enough,” said Scott.U.S. Army Spc. Eric Argento, a signal systems support specialist with the 267thSignal Company, 1034th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Task ForceDurable, works on antennas at Joint Combat Outpost Hairatan, Afghanistan.(Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. V. Michelle Woods, Task Force Durable Public Affairs)267th Signal Company provides communications support, base securityPfc. Dominick Gongwer, signal systems support specialist and Columbus, Ohio,native, 267th Signal Company, 1034th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion,Task Force Durable, is currently deployed to Camp John Pratt, Afghanistan wherehe provides communications support to units throughout northern and easternAfghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. V. Michelle Woods, Task Force DurablePublic Affairs)
  • Capt. Kymberly KoenigTask Force Durable Public Affairs US and Coalition Forces have been partnering withAfghan Forces and working alongside them while assisting in thetraining and transition to the Afghan National Security Forces(ANSF). Additionally, Soldiers throughout Afghanistan have alsobeen aiding the Afghan people by helping to build their economy. In October of 2012, Soldiers of the 1st SustainmentBrigade were challenged with maintaining a cashless battlefieldthroughout Afghanistan, explained Capt. Andrea Matthiew,financial management plans officer, Task Force Durable. The Soldiers of the D/230th Financial ManagementSupport Detachment ensure customers have access to both theUnited States Dollar and Afghan currency, explained Sgt. 1st ClassMichael Towner, disbursing agent, D/230th FMSD, Special TroopsBattalion, TF Durable. Towner added, “The way we help build Afghanistan is bylimiting the amount of USD that is disbursed onto the battlefield.Local venders come to my office three times a week to receivepayment for the business they have received from their shops at thebazaar.” The bazaar workers receive their payment in Afghancurrency so U.S. Forces are not flooding the Afghan economy withAmerican currency. A monthly withdrawal limit is placed on theamount of U.S. currency forces can withdrawal, encouraging forcesto utilize the Eagle Cash Card which works as a debit card andcan be utilized throughout the FOB, to include all vendors at thebazaar, he explained. Part of the unit’s mission is to help Afghanistan builda successful economy by ensuring the Afghan currency is notdevalued by disbursing an abundant amount of USD. In addition, Soldiers are responsible for providingdisbursing services to over 10,000 Soldiers, U.S. Civilians,Contractors and local nationals within the Logar and WardakProvinces. Pfc. Neal Jamieson, military pay technician, D/230thFMSD says, additionally, the unit who assumed the mission inFebruary provides assistance in correcting military pay issues,issuing eagle cash cards and answering pay inquiries. “Our mission is very important because the things we doin our office directly affects morale of Soldiers on the battlefield,” hesaid. The unit trained for 12 months prior to assumingresponsibility of this mission. They trained both tactically andtechnically by establishing a ‘mock office’ and conducting mockFinance Soldiers help boost Afghan economybusiness operations based on information received from theprevious unit, added Jamieson. They attended a certification exercise at Fort Dix, NJwhere they put their training into practice and provided anopportunity for the unit to train on documents they wouldexperience in a deployed environment, providing them theopportunity to correct any deficiencies in their procedures. According to Towner, during the unit’s certification theevaluators were shocked at their level of preparedness and creditedthem with being the best trained detachment since the beginning ofthe evaluations.“We created a standard for them to go by and will now expect thesame from the units that follow us,” he added. With the daunting task of managing the financial servicesthroughout two large provinces and just one month in theater,the unit has coded 2,092 transactions and currently maintains anaccuracy rate above the Defense Finance Agency and AccountingServices standard, both on the individual coder level andthroughout the section.Spc. Raymond Terranova, D/230th Financial Management Sup-port Detachment, Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Durableverifies the amount of Afghan currency to distribute to U.S. andCoalition Forces. Service Members utilize Afghan currency,rather than the U.S. Dollar to help boost the economy. (Photo byU.S. Army Capt. Kymberly Koenig, Task Force Durable PublicAffairs)
  • 266th MCT tracks air and ground transportation at FOB ShankCapt. Kymberly KoenigTask Force Durable Public Affairs With the ever-changing Afghan theater the requirementfor Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and supplies to betransported throughout Afghanistan; across highways and by airremains a constant need. Soldiers of the 266th Movement Control Team (MCT), 1stSustainment Brigade run multifaceted transportation operationsthrough the oversight of the rotary and fixed wing terminals andthe ground movement yard at Forward Operating Base Shank. Through the use of the National Afghan Trucking (NAT)companies, Soldiers serve primarily as escort elements duringconvoys. These trucks are monitored and tracked from the timethey arrive to be loaded until the time they depart. The MCT Soldiers are responsible for ensuring the trucksare equipped with the proper documentation and staged to deliversupplies to US and Coalition Forces explained Spc. Dennis Wiese,movement control specialist, 266th MCT, 1st Sust. Bde. “Our mission is to track and move supplies throughoutAfghanistan. Trucks will arrive here at FOB Shank and we makesure everything with them is correct so we can push the supplies tothe customers. They may be other Soldiers in need of food, water oreven unarmored vehicles they may need in order to complete theirmission,” he said. The unit learned of their mission just weeks beforedeployment and assumed responsibility of the mission this winter,after training for 12 months in conjunction with the exercisesthey conducted in preparation for the Global Response Force. Thisyearlong assignment tasked the unit to be available to rapidlyrespond to disasters around the world while maintaining a highstate of deployment readiness, explained Capt. Charlie Jones,commander, 266th MCT. “We received a change of mission from what was originallyexpected and we were sent to FOB Shank to operate the rotaryand fixed wing terminals and ground yard,” said Spc. ZubeenaShahnaz, air movement request specialist, 266th MCT. Shahnaz, who validates and tracks rotary wing movementrequests added, “we had a class about operating ground yardsbefore deploying. Although our mission changed from what weoriginally thought, the unit did an excellent job learning their tasksin a short period of time.” Tracking host nation trucks can be a daunting task foryoung Soldiers. Spc. Weise whose daily responsibilities include escortingthe local national trucks and drivers around the FOB and worksone-on-one with the local drivers explains, “some of the dailychallenges we face are drivers not showing up when they aresupposed to, trucks breaking down inside or enroute to our yardand aggravated drivers because they didn’t have the materialhandling equipment to unload the trucks.” The unit helps overcome these obstacles by staying incontact with all their customers daily to keep the drivers informedof when their customers will arrive to unload the trucks. Soldierswill stay with the broken down vehicles until they are able to getthe vehicles operating again. Weise added, “Our mission is important because wereceive the trucks and make sure everything is correct with themand delivered in a timely manner so we can push supplies on toSoldiers who need them in order to accomplish their mission.”Since the unit arrived in theater three months ago, they havedecreased the amount of trucks waiting over 72 hours by 71percent and decreased the average dwell time per truck by 86percent and saving the Army $140,000, he explained. “Nothing happens until something moves and we are theones responsible for the move,” said Shahnaz.Sgt. Joseph Winters, movement control noncommissioned officer, 266th MCT,1st Sust. Bde, directs National Afghan Trucking drivers to the staging locationfor delivery of supplies to units from FOB Shank. U.S. and Coalition Forces serveas convoy escort teams for the trucking company who delivers supplies to forcesacross Afghanistan. (Photo by Capt. Kymberly Koenig, Task Force Durable PublicAffairs)
  • Capt. Jimmy Plata Special Troops Battalion Human Resources Officer Task Force Reliable is the most diverse battalion within the1st Sustainment Brigade; its unconventional structure allows it tocommand and control rigger detachments, financial managementsupport units, military police companies, human resources compa-nies, postal operations and an ordnance company while providingsupport to a mortuary affairs unit. Piecing together these diverseunits presents challenges in itself, but added to the fact that eachindividual unit rotates in and out of theater at different times. In order to understand the diversity of the organization,the battalion implemented a rotational training event where thesenior leaders in the battalion go to different companies to see howtheir units help support the war effort in Afghanistan. Capt. Angel Davila, operations officer, Task Force Reliableexplained, “The training helps me to have a better understandingof what our units do. This will allow me to better resource themwhen they say they need help because I will be able to understandtheir shortfalls.” In January 2013, leaders from the battalion began withthe 647th Quartermasters (Riggers) Detachment, based out of FortBragg, NC. The Quartermaster Detachment began by presentingthe leaders with their unit’s capabilities and the processes that gointo conducting air drops. Since arriving in theater in November,the unit has rigged 1,419 bundles. The leaders then engaged in a practical exercise which letthem practice the process of preparing for an aerial delivery move.Leaders formed four man teams and started to create pallets formovement. The teams started from scratch creating their palletsand finalized by hooking them up to parachutes. Once complete,the trainers came by and verified the pallets were built to standard. “I really enjoyed that we actually got to build a palletas the Riggers watched us. It was good to get hands on trainingof what our units do on a day to day basis,” said 1st Lt. ElizabethPlata, supply officer, TF Reliable. The following month, leaders visited the 444th HumanResources Company, based out of Coraopolis, PA. The unit isresponsible for having processed over 8,262,832 pounds of mailarriving to theater and 7,248,665 pounds departing theater sincethey assumed the mission in November. Training began with anoverview of the mail flow into Bagram and a video of a mail roominspection. Leaders were then brought to the location where mail isflown into and sorted in order to continue pushing it to its finaldestination. Following this, leaders went to the Post Office. This iswhere registered mail is held, the mail handlers course is given toall unit mail handlers on Bagram and mail is dropped off in orderTask Force Reliable; diverse mission, diverse trainingSoldiers of the 111th Quartermaster Detachment, Task Force Reliable instruct thetask forces leaders on the process of preparing Fallen Heroes at Bagram Airfield’sMortuary Affairs Collection Point March 30, 2013. The Task Force has beeninstrumental in the dignified transfer of 45 Fallen Heroes from U.S. and CoalitionForces. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Jimmy Plata, Task Force Reliable)to be mailed back to the states. “I believe that knowing the process mail has to go throughfrom the states to the customer is great to know. Since our trainingwith our Postal Company I’m better informed of what happens tothe mail from the time a loved one drops it off at the post office inthe U.S. to the time it gets to us in Afghanistan,” said 1st Lt. Shawn-tria Harris, assistant operations officer, TF Reliable. In March 2013, the battalion leadership visited the mor-tuary affairs collection point where they were instrucgted on theprocess of preparing the Fallen Heroes on Bagram. “The training helps us to cross communicate with the unitsand get a better understanding of how we can help them and howthey can help us. I found that extremely beneficial so that I can pro-vide better support to all of the units in the battalion,” added Sgt.1st Class Jill Miles, supply noncommissioned officer, TF Reliable.
  • Capt. Jimmy Plata Special Troops Battalion Human Resources Officer The Special Troops Battalion hosted the first ReliableChallenge April 23-25, 2013 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Thegrueling 9 event challenge was open to 4 Soldier teams throughoutTask Force Durable. The events consisting of push-ups, sit-ups, a sand bagtoss, carry and press, eight mile ruck march and a relay run weredesigned to emphasize motivation and teamwork. The individualsof each team competed and depending on how fast they finishedthe event or the number of repetitions they completed, the teamwas awarded a number of points. At the end of the competitionthe team’s points were added and the team that tallied the highestnumber of points earned bragging rights. Twelve teams competed in the Reliable Challenge and atthe end of the third day only 3 points separated the 1st and 2ndplace teams. The reigning team, representing the Headquartersand Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, Task ForceDurable was comprised of Sgt. Manuel Chavez, Sgt. AlejandroFigueroa, Spc. Robert Hillman and Pfc. Brittany Bosse. “The events were hard, but the important thing to re-member was that we had to work as a team to make them easier.Once one of us got tired we switched out with the next one and weconstantly motivated each other to keep pushing in order to do ourbest,” explained Figueroa. “Taking first place was amazing! The events were hard butit was great to see how our team came together and worked as onein order to take victory,” added Bosse. The first place winners were presented with an ArmyAchievement Medal, a mini T-Wall and battalion coin. A Certifi-cate of Achievement (COA) along with a plaque and battalion coinwere presented to the second place winners, while the third placeteam took home a COA and two plaques. Every participant wasawarded with a COA in recognition of their motivation, persever-ance and teamwork. Soldiers strive to live up to the Warrior Ethos and duringthe competition one team was tested on their abilities to persevere.A Soldier from Team 7 hurt his foot causing him to withdraw fromthe remaining events. Rather than withdraw from the competitionthe remaining team members pushed on and continued to completethe remaining events. Their actions greatly embodied the Warrior Ethos; “I willplace the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quitand I will never leave a fallen comrade.” The Battalion Command-er recognized the team’s ability to face adversity and continue withthe challenge and awarded them with Coins of Excellence for theirefforts despite having one of their teams members become injured.‘Reliable’ Soldiers compete in 4 day challenge
  • 1st Lt. Aaron Knott1245th Transportation Company Platoon Leader An Italian Dominican priest was once quoted as saying“I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it.”The Soldiers of Third Platoon, 1245th Transportation Company,Task Force Hawkeye knew exactly what that meant as they set outto complete another convoy logistics patrol mission throughoutnorthern Afghanistan. While the mission was successfully completed, leavingthe wire this particular time quickly evolved into a humanitarianevent. Afghanistan traffic is always a sight to see; congestion,chaos, horns, flashing lights and brake lights to only name a fewof the obstacles that are faced on the road every day. Families andfriends need not fear, as 1245th Trans. Co. has created standardoperating procedures company wide to manage that chaos, keepsafety first and always remain mission focused. On this particular mission Third Platoon witnessed acivilian traffic accident that we knew we could not continue march-ing without rendering aid. Sgt. Heather Davis, truck commander,and her driver Spc. Leslie Hendricks witnessed the accident first.Immediately the radio network became electrified as the messagewas announced and transmitted through the radio frequencies.What happened next was a testament to the countless rehearsals,months of Pre-Mobilization training, unity and cohesion of ourplatoon and the “Always Ready and Fearless Nature” of our Sol-diers. An order was given for the convoy to halt, and imme-diately a secure perimeter was set to protect the personnel onthe ground. The Assistant Convoy Commander, Staff Sgt. CygenWeatherby and his language interpreter were the first on the sceneand immediately realized it was much worse than any of us hadthought. He instantly called for the medics, Spc. Russell Lanier andSpc. Jadica Piela and the Aid and Litter team Sgt. 1st Class ErwinBlue and Sgt. Robert Jones, to move forward. With Staff Sgt. Weatherby’s supervision and assistance,the medics quickly assessed the casualties and instinctively beganbarking orders and treating the wounded civilians. Sgt. 1st ClassBlue supervised the landing zone operation and called for Spc.Hendricks and Davis to begin setting up the Landing Zone inpreparation of a possible medical evacuation. Spc. William Stew-art and Sgt Richard Narvaiz recovered the litters from the truckand assisted with the loading and movement of the patients.1245th Transportation Company provides ‘on the scene’ aid Sgt. Jones and Weatherby assisted the medics who con-tinued to render aid while Staff Sgt. Williams helped provideadditional security for the Soldiers. The decision was made tocontact the battalion and ask for a medical evacuation or aid fromthe Afghan National Army to be coordinated to provide support.The decision was made to seek Afghan National assistance, andthe team kept the injured patients stabilized, kept them warm andprevented them from going into shock while waiting on the AfghanNational Police. Once the ANP arrived on the scene, the Soldiers weredirected to mount up and move out. Within 60 seconds the convoyelement was back in their vehicles and on the move. Unfortu-nately, of the four local nationals involved in accident, the fate oftwo was not as good as hoped for. On a positive note, we had theleadership, the SOPs, the medical expertise, equipment and quickreaction time to sustain life and provide help to the Afghanistancommunity. Through increased resiliency, the members of ThirdPlatoon carried on, and successfully completed their mission asintended.
  • ‘Reliable’ Soldiers maintain readiness, train throughout deploymentSgt. V. Michelle WoodsTask Force Durable Public Affairs As troops in Task Force Reliable reach the end of theirdeployment to Afghanistan, Soldier and unit readiness continues tobe a top priority. Combatives, vehicle rollover training, sexual harassmentand assault prevention classes, and combat lifesaver courses arejust a few of the many exercises Soldiers are conducting during thenine month deployment. “It helps improve the capability of the unit as a whole byincreasing available trained personnel as well as helping individu-al Soldiers earn promotion points,” said Headquarters and Head-quarters Company 1st Sgt. Robert McElyea. The training most popular among Soldiers are the Basicand Tactical Combatives Courses. Previously known as CombativesLevel I and Level II, the training is intended to teach Soldiers howto close in and defeat the enemy in hand to hand combat. In past combatives courses Soldiers trained while wear-ing the Army Combat Uniform, however students now train whileholding a rubber weapon and wearing body armor to simulatehand to hand combat in a deployed environment. “The current course now requires Soldiers to wear tacticalgear while fighting in the training environment to better simulatehow they would react to a hostile scenario outside of training,” saidSpc. Luke Pilkington, Reliable Battalion Combatives Instructorand team chief with the 267th Signal Company. “Soldiers don’t go outside the wire wearing just their phys-ical training uniform, so if they find themselves in a bad situationwhile wearing all of our protective gear, they need to know howto move in a certain way, control their range, angle and level andreposition themselves to control that opponent,” said Pilkington, anOklahoma native. “It’s universally important because you can take theseskills outside of the Army,” added Pilkington, who has served fortwo years. “You can take these skills that you learn in combatives,not to win a fight necessarily but to better control a hostile situa-tion.” Pilkington added the combatives training complementsthe Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention and Response Programclasses which Soldiers are required to complete. “This is the best SHARP training the Army has ever used,”he said. “If I go to touch you and you break my wrist, I can’t touchyou anymore.” The task force has trained more than 200 Soldiers sincethe unit deployed in September. In a combat environment where vigilance is critical tosurvival, leaders take steps like conducting training in order toavoid complacency. In addition to the combatives course, the othertraining Soldiers complete while deployed help prevent complacen-cy by interrupting the regular work schedule and duties. “Some sections have also benefited because the classesdistract Soldiers from the rigors and stresses of deployment,” saidMcElyea, who helps schedule training for Soldiers. “By offeringthem a break from their traditional job, they get a different view ofwhat the Army offers.” Whether it’s promotion points, relief from a rigorousschedule or maintaining a high level of vigilance, training duringdeployment positively affects Soldiers and the unit as well as helpsto ensure mission success. McElyea added, “Accomplishing additional training alsodemonstrates to the Army that a Soldier desires to continue tolearn and grow. It also increases their skill set enabling them tobetter accomplish the mission.”Spc. Luke Pilkington, Reliable Combatives instructor and team chief with the267th Signal Company, instructs Soldiers on the proper techniques to use duringthe Basic Combatives Course at Bagram Airfield. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. V.Michelle Woods, Task Force Durable Public Affairs)
  • Maj. Margarita DunlapTask Force Durable Communications Officer The 1st Sustainment Brigade’s Task Force Durable hasplaced a strong emphasis on deterring Cross Domain Violations(CDV) and Discharges of Classified Information (DCI). Informa-tion is a powerful tool in the hands of a capable enemy and inrecent years there has been a major campaign to ensure that theUnited States Forces do not give the enemy any information thatmay be used to harm our deployed service members. To bring the fight to the enemy, TF Durable’s signal sectiontook an offensive posture to decrease the amount of violationsthroughout all the task force’s formations. Warrant Officer 1 Leslie Dixon, Information AssuranceManager, TF Durable assessed the battlefield prior to the unit’sdeployment based on the information received from the outgoingunit; consequently, Standard Operating Procedures, Tactics, Tech-niques and Procedures and policies were formulated while the unitwas at Fort Riley, Kan. with unique circumstances that the operat-ing environment presented in Afghanistan. Upon arriving in theater the brigade’s signal team immedi-ately implemented the policies and procedures to create a low riskenvironment for information assurance (IA) incidents. The signalsection ensured TF Durable leaders were aware of the risks andthreats associated with utilization of various technologies. Theydedicated time to reviewing policies and stressed the importance ofadherence of policies to all staff members to ensure information gotto all ‘Durable’ Soldiers. The signal section developed procedures with stricttimelines, remedial training, containment actions and incidentreporting in the event of a CDV or DCI. Classes were taught by thehelpdesk team to ensure all Soldiers were properly trained in orderto reduce violations. In late February, the unit received recognition from theU.S. Central Command’s (USCENTCOM) information assurancecommand inspection team for maintaining the lowest number of IAviolations throughout Afghanistan having committed only .07 % ofall violations throughout Afghanistan. Sgt. Aaron Trowbridge, signal communication noncom-missioned officer, Special Troops Battalion, TF Durable and Pfc.Michael St. Hill, signal communication specialist, 359th InlandCargo Transfer Company were recognized as having the bestprograms at the battalion and company level. Sgt. Aaron K. Ollarimpressed the inspection team with the brigade’s communicationsecurity program. The personnel from the USCENTCOM’s inspection teamexamined TF Durable’s IA program after a review of the collectivedata gathered, identifying a successful program in order to gath-U.S. Central Command gives Task Force Durable accoladeser insight on the policies and procedures emplace which makesthe task force so successful. They were impressed at the level ofknowledge senior leaders and company level Soldiers possessedrelated to IA. “The 1st Sustainment Brigade has a model program andif all units followed this program we would not be here today,”said Lt. Col. Johnson and Mr. McDuffie who are going to recom-mend the implementation of many of the procedures followed byTF Durable to USCENTCOM leadership as a framework for all ofAfghanistan and the Department of Defense. Some of the most important procedures to a successful IAProgram is a joint effort headed by the unit’s signal and intel-ligence sections. IA must be a culture enforced by commandersthroughout the ranks to ensure information is protected in orderto keep service members safe from the enemy. Units must trainand retrain to stay on the offensive to prevent IA violations. Inaddition, Soldiers must use their training and make on the spotcorrections to assist in the effort cyber threats pose. TF Durable looks forward to continuing the fight forinformation assurance and security in order to ensure low riskimpacts to the Soldiers inside and outside of the wire by continu-ously improving policies and procedures to promote an effectivecyber awareness culture. Always ready; always connected; proud to protect.Soldiers of Task Force Durable’s signal office were recognizedby Brig. Gen. Scottie Carpenter, commander, 311th Expedi-tionary Support Command for their efforts with the unit’sinformation assurance program which resulted in the unitbeing recognized as having the lowest percentage of violationsthroughout theater. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. KymberlyKoenig, Task Force Durable Public Affairs Office)
  • Spc. Jeremy AdkinsOur family is so incredibly proud of you,Sweet Soldier. I am STILL tugging hard onthat string that connects my heart to yours.Know that I will be here waiting for you...just like I promised when I married you.Love Always, Your CarolineMaster Sgt. Belinda TaylorThe entire family is anticipating your safereturn home. We have missed you dearlyduring this deployment. It has been verydifficult for us, because a very importantpart of our family has been absent for sometime now. This deployment has truly taughtus all your true worth, and upon yourreturn, we will not take your presence andthe way you make this household functionfor granted. We love and miss you fromIsaiah Sr., Isaiah Jr., Jasai and JaydenMaj. Nate ArnoldWe are so proud of you and everythingyou’re doing over there. We cannot wait foryou to come back home! You ARE our hero!Love, Lisa and BuddyMaj. Randy NewmanYou are such an amazing husband, father& Soldier; I am so proud of you, your ac-complishments in life and the example youset for our daughters. I am very blessedto be married to my best friend; hurryhome, you are missed! Love forever and foralways. DrueAnnaSpc. Kischa McDonald& Sgt. Chris Albright,We are so glad you will both be home soon.Words cannot express how proud we areand how much we have missed you. Yourfuture is brighter than the sun and wecannot wait to watch you two be married!Love, Mom and DadWelcome Home! We missed you; we’reproud of you; and we love you both! Dadand Mom AlbrightCapt. Justin GobleJface the finish line is oh so close!We love and miss you lots!Lis, Sage, Randle and QwynnWords can not express just how proudof you we are. Your commitment to thiscountry and your own personal sacrificesmake you a true hero in our eyes. Welcomehome, Love Aubrey, Aaron and AryannaA Message from Home
  • Cpl. Lance CornelisonFather, husband, brother, son and hero. Wecan’t begin to explain how proud we are ofyou and all that you have accomplished.We love you infinity! Love, your girlsStaff Sgt. John DettmanWe along with many friends and relativesare anxiously awaiting your safe return.We salute you and all the courageoustroops serving our country. Love andprayers from Mom, Dad, Jenn, Jane, Matt& JoAnna.”Staff Sgt. Harry WillisWe are so proud of everything you have ac-complished. Thank you for being a wonder-ful husband, great father and an awesomeSoldier. We love you with all our hearts.Spc. Dustin KorteWe are so proud of you for all you do andthe sacrifices you make for us.So glad our family is whole again.Welcome Home Husband/Daddy!!!Love Always, Amanda & CarsonThank you for your service and keeping ussafe back home. Couldn’t be more proud ofyou. Welcome Home!!! Love, Momma PegYou are all heroes in our eyes and we aregrateful for your devotion to America’sfreedom. SPC Korte- Welcome home bud.We love you and are so proud of you, Dad,Teri and LexiSpc. Timothy GardnerrWe love and miss you! Can’t wait until weare together again!! Love, Lindsay, Emma,Ethan and EmmettStaff Sgt. Nicholas SnyderWe are so proud of you and can’t wait foryour return! We love you and miss you somuch! Come on home so we can hit the wa-ter! Love, Rachel, Gianna, Kamryn, Nicoand doggies
  • Spc. Shane MeyersBrave hearts do not back down and for thatwe say: “thank you” “great job” “we missedyou.” To our nephew Shane Meyers, yourfamily is very proud of you, YOU ROCK!!!HOOAH!!!! Go Army!! Cliff & TammyMeyers and FamilySgt. 1st Class Anthony WhitakerWe love you and hope to see you soon!Love Always, April, Kendan and KaraSpc. Kyle BretzLove you and miss you!!! Hurry home!! Love,TamiSgt. 1st Class Chris RileyWe love and miss you so very much!! Weare getting closer to the end and we will betogether again soon!! WE LOVE YOU!!!Staff Sgt. Jared Burley“Glad we are on the homestretch! We miss& love you very much! Love, your 3 girlsElly, Pearl & Nicole”Spc. Cesar CortezWe are so proud of you and everything youhave done, can’t wait to see you. We missand love you very much..Sgt. Cedric WasisangWe can’t wait to hold you.We love and missyou so much. XOXO, your #1 fans