Lifeliner Year in Review
January 7, 2014
The Soldiers of the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, experienced some major changes in 2013 and they proved once again that every day there is a "Lifeliner" in the fight.
The year started with Soldiers of the 591st Sapper Company, 326th Engineer Battalion, deploying to Afghanistan in January.
At Fort Campbell, throughout the winter and spring, the brigade headquarters and Soldiers from the 101st Special Troops Battalion stepped up training for deployment that began in late 2012. To prepare, the battalion conducted a number of convoy live-fire trainings with Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
At the start of February, the engineers of the 326th Eng. Bn. changed commanders. Later in the month, Soldiers from the 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion traveled to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., to support Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in a training exercise, which prepared the Soldiers to be the Nation's force of decisive action.
March also saw the return of the 613th Movement Control team from a deployment in Afghanistan. Additionally, Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, participated in training with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., in a Joint Operations Access Exercise. The 2-44th ADA continued to stay busy in April, when Soldiers from the battalion traveled to Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz., to carry out a field training exercise.
April marked an important milestone for both the brigade and the 101st STB, as both units cased their colors. Days after casing its colors, the 101st STB held its second annual Gamberi Memorial Run to honor five Soldiers who fell in combat on April 16, 2011, at Forward Operating Base Gamberi.
During this time, Soldiers from the 129th CSSB conducted Global Response Force training.
In May, the brigade headquarters and the 101st STB deployed. On June 8, the brigade unfurled its colors and Task Force Lifeliner took over sustainment operations from Task Force Durable and began supporting Coalition forces throughout Regional Commands East, North and Capital. TF Lifeliner would distribute vital supplies and bring back retrograde equipment on their return trip. Parachute riggers from TF Lifeliner helped speed supplies to the front lines using low-cost low-altitude airdrops.
Soldiers from the 716th Military Police Battalion and 2-44th ADA deployed to Afghanistan in the summer for two very different missions. The MPs went to Regional Command -- South for a customs mission, and the Soldiers from Battery B, fresh from their Mission Readiness Exercise at Fort Sill, Okla., started protecting FOB Shank from indirect fire using the Land-based Phalanx Weapon System -- a sophisticated, rapid-firing weapon capable of destroying rockets, mortars and artillery shells. Additionally, Soldiers from the 58th Signal Company, 101st STB deployed to Afghanistan.
July Fourth gave the brigade extra reason to celebrate this year, because more than 130 Soldiers from the 541st Transportation Company, 129th CSSB, returned home from a deployment in Afghanistan.
Downrange, TF Lifeliner's air operation sling load team conducted 322 sling load operations in June and July which delivered more than 600 metric tons of cargo to Soldiers. Additionally, TF Lifeliner's mail operations team put the "Click-N-Ship" service into operation, shortening lines at the post office and making postal operations more efficient.
In August, the brigade experienced another change of command when 2-44th ADA changed commanders. Later, Soldiers from the 227th Quartermaster Company, 129th CSSB, deployed to Afghanistan.
October brought major changes to the brigade. On Oct. 16, the parachute Riggers of 4th Platoon, 647th Quartermaster Detachment, 101st STB, deactivated. After providing aerial delivery support for the division more than 50 years, the brigade no longer had an active paratrooper unit. The 716th MP Bn. also conducted a patch change ceremony, Oct. 17, changing from the 89th Military Police Brigade to the 16th Military Police Brigade, while maintaining its relationship with the 101st Sust. Bde. and Fort Campbell. Finally, 2-44th ADA received its first organic Land-based Phalanx Weapons System Oct. 17, and began to train for a counter-rocket, artillery and mortar missions in Afghanistan. Finally, Oct. 18, 326th Eng. Bn. conducted a patch change ceremony and moved to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Abn. Div.
Additionally in late October, the Soldiers of the 2-44th ADA's Sentinel radar platoon in Battery C conducted an Air Assault mission, which served as its capstone mission before deploying to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, TF Lifeliner began training its convoy teams for winter operations to deal with potentially dangerous winter weather conditions on the roads. Lifeliners also prepared its postal teams for the expected surge of mail for the holidays and continued with other support missions.
At Fort Campbell the 551st MP Co. trained 72 Soldiers from across the division for access control point operations. By the end of November, they had taken on responsibility for manning the bulk of Fort Campbell's gates.
The 101st Sustainment Brigade celebrated Thanksgiving with traditional meals in both Afghanistan and Fort Campbell. The 101st Sustainment Brigade Dining Facility maintained its winning ways by winning the best DFAC award for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013, and by winning the Thanksgiving decoration contest.
December started with TF Lifeliner taking over for the 15th Sustainment Brigade and assuming responsibility for sustainment operations throughout Afghanistan. The 2-44th ADA also went to Fort Sill, Okla., to conduct its mission readiness exercise. The training event gave them hands-on time using their equipment to intercept incoming rounds.