CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - The Contingency Operating Location Q-West mayor cell transitioned from the 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined Arms to the Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), during a small ceremony here Feb. 1.

The mayor cell, which had been run by the 2-198th, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the base.

"We have a hard job filling the boot marks left by the 2-198th," said Col. Larry Phelps, the 15th Sust. Bde. commander and Greenville, Ala., native. "No doubt you all took a great deal of pride in how you run this place."

Phelps explained that the 15th was originally supposed to deploy to Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, and it would have been an easy sustainment mission for the brigade, but when the mission moved the 15th to Q-West and the brigade would be responsible for running the base, he got worried about exactly how to run a COL.

Phelps has every confidence that the STB will be successful in their mission.

"As good as they've done, I expect better," he said. "If you're not making progress, you're sitting still, and out here, if you are sitting still, you're losing ground."

In order to meet the mission of the mayor cell, the 2-198th had to get additional Soldiers from across the state of Miss., said Lt. Col. Kerry Goodman, a Meridian, Miss., native and the battalion's commander.

Goodman said attitude was the most important aspect of running the mayor cell.

"You are here to make sure tenants get what they need to do their job," he said.

The mission of the mayor cell is an important one, even if it isn't what many people think of as "Army stuff," said Lt. Col. William B. Smith Jr., the outgoing mayor from the 2-198th.

"Engaged leadership is the key," Smith, a Hattiesburg, Miss., native, said.

Lt. Col. Paula Lodi, the STB commander and incoming mayor, thanked the 2-198th for their hard work, adding that this is the best base she has been to.

Taking on the mayor mission is a change for the STB, which controls 1,200 Soldiers from Basra in southern Iraq to Habur Gate on the northern border with Turkey, Lodi, a Franklin, Mass., native, said.

"Change is inevitable, but growth is optional," she said. "Change is what we owe this theater, growth is what we get to take back home with us.

"We're going to run with it, we're going to continue to set the standard," Lodi said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16