By Staff Sgt. Justin A Silvers (3rd ESC)December 30, 2015
The 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command derives its lineage from the 3d Logistical Command, which was activated in Japan on September 19, 1950 for service in Korea.
The date: September 15, 1950. The place: Inchon, Korea. North Korean troops force American and South Korean ground forces into a small area on the Pusan peninsula in southeast Korea. To break through, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander in chief of the United Nations Forces, devises a plan to surround the North Koreans. He stages an amphibious landing at the enemy's rear at Inchon near Seoul. Thus follows the fall of the harbor city where Allied forces dig in and push the North Koreans back across the 38th parallel and up the peninsula in mere weeks.
Meanwhile, the 3d Logistical Command arrived in Korea just 11 days after MacArthur's invasion and was assigned to X Corps. The command, just activated on September 19 under the Japan Logistical Command which was supporting the Eighth Army in Korea as the Far East Command requisitioning agency, assumed the task to unload, receive, store, and forward supplies for the X Corps. It established an initial supply level of 15 days and provided anti-aircraft and beach defense of the Inchon area. The concept of using a logistical command was a new one evolving from experiences during WWII. Korea marked the first use in combat of a logistical command organized under an approved table of organization. The attached corps combat service support structure was capable of providing high quality, timely support to units and included ordnance, quartermaster, transportation and medical units.
Prior to its inactivation on March 20, 1953, the 3d Logistical Command participated in eight Korean campaigns including the first United Nations Counter Offensive and three Korean winter campaigns. The command received two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations for its meritorious service during the conflict.
Reactivated After the experience in Korea, the consensus of those concerned seemed to be that the logistical command concept was sound. The great advantage of such an organization was that it represented an approved voucher against which a commander could set up a logistics support organization. The command was reactivated on June 15, 1958, in France and supported the U.S. Army Europe Communications Zone. In the spring of 1967, the unit left France and moved to Worms, Germany. On June 2, 1969, the command was again inactivated, with the majority of the soldiers and units joining existing support units already in Germany. Before the corps support command - or COSCOM - concept was adopted in the United States Army in Europe, V and VII corps received combat service support from support brigades. When Seventh Army was reduced to token representation, V and VII corps became separate commands subordinate to USAREUR. To operate independently, each required a corps support command. The second and third support brigades were assigned to V and VII corps, respectively, and became COSCOMs.
On June 25, 1969, V COSCOM was released from seventh army support command and was assigned to V Corps. V COSCOM was redesignated on September 23, 1974, as the 3rd Support Command (Corps), with its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. The designation "(Corps)" was dropped in late 1979. During the Cold War, the 3d Support Command stood in defense of Western Europe along with other forces. During the annual REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany) exercises the command sustained V Corps during intensive tactical operations and deployment and redeployment operations. A typical REFORGER found the command supporting well over 70,000 troops and 20,000 vehicles during some of the most arduous winter conditions in Europe.
On November 3, 1976, the distinctive badge for the 3d COSCOM was authorized. The Korean taeguk within the octagon shape represents the unit's eight campaigns in the Korean War. The red, white, and blue interlaced chevrons symbolize the strong support offered by the command; three chevrons further distinguish the designation of the 3d Corps Support Command. Buff (gold) and scarlet are colors used for support units.
3d COSCOM adapted its official motto "Sustaining the Line!" in the fall of 1977. The command sponsored a contest for soldiers to provide a motto for the unit crest. In a meeting in early October, a dozen possible mottoes from soldiers across the command were selected. Warrant Officer Richard Jones of the 881st Maintenance Battalion, received a $25 savings bond for his contribution of "Sustaining the Line!"
Nijmegen road march in 1985 the 3d Support Command headquarters moved from Frankfurt to Wiesbaden, West Germany, after being next to V Corps HQs in Frankfurt for 16 years. In 1986 the command was selected to sponsor USAREUR's involvement in the 70th annual Nijmegen Road March in Holland. The command handled its duties in such an outstanding manner that the CG, USAREUR and 7th Army, established the command as the permanent sponsor of the international road march. The command was redesignated as the 3d Corps Support Command in October 1988. More recently, 3d COSCOM has been a key participant in several critical support missions throughout the world. Besides playing a major role in the deployment and redeployment of USAREUR soldiers in support of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, over 1,600 soldiers deployed from the 3d COSCOM to southwest Asia, including soldiers from the 181 Transportation Battalion and the 16th Corps Support Group.
Elements of the 3d COSCOM deployed to Zagreb, Croatia, in support of Operation Provide Promise from November 1992 to November 1993. Aviation support soldiers were deployed to Somalia from December 1992 through May 1993 in support of Operation Restore Hope. From July through December 1993, 3d COSCOM soldiers deployed to southwest Asia in support of Operation Provide Cover. Soldiers from every unit in the COSCOM deployed to the Balkans in 1999 in support of Task Force Hawk and Falcon, participating in the NATO-led air campaign in Kosovo to bring stability and peace to the region.
The Global War on Terror
In February 2003, the 3d COSCOM headquarters deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Command assumed control of over more than 17,000 Soldiers providing logistical support to US and Coalition forces. COSCOM units participated in every OIF rotation since 2003 as well as deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The headquarters deployed a second time to Iraq in 2005 assuming control of over 20,000 Soldiers while continuing to provide sustainment and distribution to Coalition Forces. Upon returning to Germany in September 2006, 3d COSCOM personnel began preparations to relocate the unit colors for the sixth time in its history. The unit moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky in June 2007 and on September 16, 2007 the 3d COSCOM transformed into the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command. After relocating to Fort Knox, the unit received personnel, equipment, and the mission to redeploy for a third-time to Iraq. From June 20, 2008 until August 7, 2009, the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command assumed responsibility for sustainment and distribution support for all Coalition Forces in the Iraqi Theater of Operations. The command provided logistical support and base life support to over 300,000 soldiers and civilians across Iraq every day, while working with the Iraqi Army to improve their logistics capability and make them self-sufficient.
Operation Unified Response - Haiti
Soldiers from the 3rd ESC began deploying to Haiti within a week of the earthquake that devastated the country in January 2010. From January 19 to February 3, the 3rd ESC formation grew to a Joint Logistics Command supporting over 18,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Civilians, USAID, NGO, DVO and other governmental agencies. Before redeploying on March 9, 2010, the 3rd ESC provided humanitarian aid and medical support to the Haitian people as well as transportation, field services and sustainment for U.S. forces deployed in and around Haiti.
In August 2015, the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command moved to Fort Bragg, N.C. to be aligned with its higher headquarters, the XVIII Airborne Corps.
In garrison, the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command provides command and control (Training and Readiness Authority - TRA) of one sustainment battalion, the 264th CSSB and one transportation battalion, the 330th TB. The 3rd ESC also mentors other ESCs and sustainment brigades as they seek to improve their capabilities and/or prepare to deploy. Meanwhile, the headquarters is constantly working to prepare itself to deploy and provide command and control, sustainment and distribution management anywhere, in any environment, against any adversary.