By Staff Sgt. Peter Ford, MND-B PAOJune 30, 2009
BAGHDAD - Much like blood that flows through the human body, Soldiers of the 299th Brigade Support Battalion "Lifeline", 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division move through streets of Iraq in the silence of night to support forward operating bases throughout the Baghdad area.
"Missions are done at night because there is less traffic," said 1st. Lt. Harris Malik, a native of Strongsville, Ohio, and convoy commander for A Company, 299th BSB. "Coalition forces are less visible at night and chances of having an accident are much smaller," he added.
Lifeline troops quietly transport vital equipment to FOBs every night; protected by Soldiers who provide security to ensure requested items arrive at their destinations. The U.S. troops weave through the streets of Baghdad with the satisfaction of knowing they are making a major contribution to each mission on the FOBs.
"I like to use the analogy of a football team when it comes to my Soldiers," said Command Sgt. Maj. Julia Kelly, a Pryor, Mont., native and ammunition specialist assigned to the 299th BSB. "We are like the line and the combat Soldiers are the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receiver, who get all the glory, but the line of the football team knows the star players can't score without the blocking in the trenches."
The lifeline quietly moves food, water and parts to supply FOBs with the necessary equipment that will enable Soldiers to be self-sufficient and to complete their missions.
"This week we had the task of supplying FOB Justice with water and ice because they had water issue with the Iraqi water supply," said Malik. "Thanks to the dedication of the lifeline, Justice never had to worry about drinking water, or water for personal hygiene."
The greatest reward the Soldiers of the 299th BSB say they can receive is the appreciation of their comrades in arms for the contribution they have made to support them over the years, continued Malik.
"I feel really good when the contributions to the mission are appreciated," he said.
Under the cover of darkness, dedicated Lifeline Soldiers of the 299th BSB continue to drive the streets of Baghdad to provide vital equipment and supplies to keep the organizations of the Coalition forces fully functional.