FORT HOOD, Texas - Decades ago as the nation's involvement in Vietnam increased, so did the need for units able to support the warfighter during these times of conflict. On Sept. 24, 1965, the 13th Support Brigade was activated on Fort Hood, Texas. Even though the name has changed, providing premiere sustainment and logistics support has not, and that is something worth celebrating.

Soldiers and leaders from the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command hosted their 54th birthday celebration Sept. 24-27.

With contributions from the 13th Corps Support Command Association, the week-long event included activities such as a Family fun run, cake cutting ceremony, Commander's Cup competition, golf tournament and wreath laying ceremony.

Belton native and Fort Hood Good Neighbor Jay Taggart helped form the 13th COSCOM Association in 2006, and has been involved with each birthday celebration since the first one was held in 2009.

"It's a time to bring community members together with the current 13th ESC leaders as well as former leadership from the unit," Taggart said. "Birthday week was great this year and the various events built esprit de corps among the Soldiers."

Day Two of birthday week saw Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th ESC, 49th Transportation Battalion, 61st Quartermaster Battalion and 1st Medical Brigade battle for the highly coveted Commander's Cup which had been with HHC, 13th ESC, since they won the competition last year.

This year, competitors went all-out to see which unit got the best scores in the Army Combat Fitness Test and in the flag football, basketball and softball tournaments.

HHC, 13th ESC paralegal specialist and Pearsall, Texas native Spc. Tayla Elizondo, participated in her second birthday week celebration with the unit.

Elizondo was part of the softball team and even though they did not come away with a tournament win, she enjoyed every minute.

"I enjoyed all the sports but especially softball since they didn't have it last year," Elizondo said. "I hadn't played in almost three years and had a lot of fun."

After a grueling day of physical activities, 49th Transportation Battalion almost swept the competition and walked away as the 2019 Commander's Cup champions.

"My command sergeant major and I are very proud of our Soldiers," said Lt. Col. Travis L. Sept, 49th Transportation Battalion Commander. "Winning this year's Commander's Cup really demonstrated what Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Valdivia and I always discuss; Teamwork!"

On Day Three, the 13th COSCOM held their annual Brig. Gen. Terry Hildner Memorial Golf Tournament at the Courses of Clear Creek.
Hildner died in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2012, and is the second highest-ranking American to die in the Afghan war. Hildner was the commander of the 13th ESC from 2010 until his death.

The culminating event on Day Four of birthday week was the Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony at the 13th ESC memorial on Hildner Field which honored the 110 Soldiers who lost their lives in defense of the nation while serving with 13th ESC since 9/11.

As 13th ESC Commander Brig. Gen. Darren L. Werner addressed the crowd, the enormity of the event could be felt by everyone in attendance.

"The members of this unit and community can't help but feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the sacrifices given by these men and women," Werner said. "We merely need to feel the warmth of the sun on this beautiful day to remember them looking down on us, and what they gave to us. The 110 service members memorialized here at Hildner Field left a lasting legacy which we proudly carry each and every day. We appreciate with all our hearts the sacrifice they made and the hope they preserved."

As another successful year in the 13th ESC lineage has passed, the sustainers stand ready for another legacy defining period in the unit's history.

"I do not know when, what or where our next mission will be, but I do know that we must stay ready and expeditionary," Werner said. "We must remain prepared to operate in truly austere environments, and to execute sustainment operations in perilous surroundings. The names on the wall must serve as a reminder of our duty to continue tough, realistic training and to use our time of relative peace to prepare for the next war."