• CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Soldiers with the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion,
15th Sustainment Brigade, wait for a convoy to pass before starting a retention run Jan. 28 at Camp Liberty, Iraq. The run, led by the battalion and brigade command sergeants major, was followed by a briefing on reenlistment options for the Soldiers. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Soldiers with the 260th...

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Soldiers with the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, wait for a convoy to pass before starting a retention run Jan. 28 at Camp Liberty, Iraq. The run, led by the battalion and brigade command...

  • JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Soldiers with the 15th Sustainment Brigade's personal security detail prepare their Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles for a mission during the early morning hours of Jan. 27 at Joint Base Balad. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Soldiers with the 15th...

    JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Soldiers with the 15th Sustainment Brigade's personal security detail prepare their Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles for a mission during the early morning hours of Jan. 27 at Joint Base Balad. (U.S. Army photo by Staff...

  • CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps, the commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), speaks to the leaders of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during a visit to Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 27. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps, the...

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps, the commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), speaks to the leaders of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during a visit to Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 27...

  • CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Members of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), conduct driver's training on a heavy equipment transporter at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 27. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Members of the 260th...

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Members of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), conduct driver's training on a heavy equipment transporter at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 27. (U.S. Army...

  • CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps, the commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), talks to members of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion about retrograde operations during a visit to Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 27. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps, the...

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps, the commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), talks to members of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion about retrograde operations during a visit to Camp...

  • CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel Bartee Sr., the senior noncommissioned officer for the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary),  speaks to members of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion about re-enlistment following a retention run Jan. 28 at Camp Liberty, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Command Sgt. Maj...

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel Bartee Sr., the senior noncommissioned officer for the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), speaks to members of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion about...

  • CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Members of the 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), brief Col. Larry Phelps, the brigade's commander, during a visit to Camp Taji, Iraq, Jan. 28. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Members of the 541st Combat...

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Members of the 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), brief Col. Larry Phelps, the brigade's commander, during a visit to Camp Taji, Iraq, Jan. 28. (U.S. Army...

  • CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Members of the 3666th Maintenance Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), brief Col. Larry Phelps, the brigade's commander, on operations at a retrograde yard during a visit Jan. 29. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Members of the 3666th...

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Members of the 3666th Maintenance Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), brief Col. Larry Phelps, the brigade's commander, on operations at a retrograde...

  • CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps, commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade, smashes a bottle of grape juice on the front of a heavy equipment transporter Jan. 27 at Camp Liberty, Iraq. The truck had just returned from a complete overhaul by members of the 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps...

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Col. Larry Phelps, commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade, smashes a bottle of grape juice on the front of a heavy equipment transporter Jan. 27 at Camp Liberty, Iraq. The truck had just returned from a complete overhaul by...

  • JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles light up the early morning darkness as members of the 15th Sustainment Brigade personal security detail prepare for a mission Jan. 27 at Joint Base Balad. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Mine-Resistant...

    JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles light up the early morning darkness as members of the 15th Sustainment Brigade personal security detail prepare for a mission Jan. 27 at Joint Base Balad. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt...

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - The 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), assumed command and control over two more Combat Sustainment Support Battalions Jan. 15, making it the largest brigade currently deployed to Iraq.

The brigade is composed of seven battalions totaling more than 7,000 Soldiers from Victory Base Complex in Baghdad to Habur Gate along Iraq's northern border, said Col. Larry Phelps, the 15th Sust. Bde. commander.

"We're on the front-leading edge for the entire theater in terms of the way the theater will do business for the remainder of this mission," said Phelps, a Greenville, Ala., native.

As the drawdown progresses, the brigade must look at a number of factors, including procedures, personnel and equipment, to ensure the right support is provided to the Soldiers still in theater.

"As the mission evolves with the maneuver forces, the mission also has to evolve with logistics," he said. "We have to be smarter, we have to look at ways to become efficient, and not just effective."

"It's not just do more with less," Phelps said. "It's do the right stuff with the right force."

With the addition of the new battalions, the conditions have been set for the future of logistics in Iraq, and when the 15th Sust. Bde. is replaced, the tactics, techniques and procedures are all in place for the remainder of the mission in Iraq, Phelps explained.
The changes mean the "Wagonmaster" family has taken on a larger support role, over longer distances and slightly different mission sets, Phelps said.

Along with the changes, the brigade's Special Troops Battalion has taken over command and control for all finance and human resources units across the entire country, he said.

The brigade's new battalions will face new roles and changes to the way their missions had been done as well.

The 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion will be the transportation spine that moves cargo north and south from Contingency Operating Site Marez in northern Iraq down to Camp Adder in southern Iraq as the drawdown kicks into high gear, said Lt. Col. Paul Dismer, the 541st CSSB commander.

The changes will make the transportation system less complex and more reliable, Dismer said.

"This is a better way of doing business, and we are proud to be a part of it," he said.

The 541st CSSB has been conducting driver's training to ensure that each Soldier in the transportation companies can properly drive the vehicles they need to drive, Dismer explained.

"Furthermore, the 541st is taking in excess property from outlying [forward operating bases], processing it, containerizing it and shipping it out of theater," Dismer said. "To date, the retrograde yard and its supporting [mobile redistribution team] has put over $12 million worth of property back into the Army inventory for reuse and moved out over 159 containers worth of excess.

"All of this is being done with calm, confidence, and competence because we have great Soldiers who are professional and understand that it is necessary if we are to successfully support the increase in retrograde operations and eventually leave theater," Dismer added.

The 80th Ordnance Battalion is also working to reduce the amount of equipment in theater.

"To date we have brought over $225 million back into the Army supply system," said Maj. Bryan Rider, the 80th Ord Bn executive officer.

In addition, the 80th has been posturing United States Forces - Iraq with responsible drawdown assets through the heavy equipment transporter maintenance services and the container repair yard , both one-of-a-kind operations in Iraq, Rider said.

For the 80th, the mission has not really changed, but has rather become more focused.

"The first half of our deployment we focused on efficiency improvements," Rider said. "The new mission feels like a continuum of the first half of the deployment with the focus shifting more from posturing to executing responsible withdrawal."

Phelps is confident the new members of the brigade team will work smoothly together to accomplish the mission.

He also thanked the leaders of the 90th and 96th Sustainment Brigades, whom had control of the new battalions before the 15th.

"They have been terrific partners and made the difficult task as easy as it could be," Phelps said of the two brigades.

Page last updated Tue February 16th, 2010 at 19:59