By Bryan Gatchell, Fort Polk Guardian staff writerNovember 13, 2009
FORT POLK, La. -- Beginning in World War II, performing in theater during the United States' various conflicts, moving from state to state (Wyoming, Alaska), inactivated and activated over the course of the 20th century and reborn in 2005 at Fort Polk, the 94th Brigade Support Battalion finished another memorable chapter in its diverse history Nov. 6 at Mountain Field.
The battalion received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for service during deployment to Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah in southeast Baghdad, Iraq, from Nov. 30, 2007 to Jan. 5, 2009. According to the commendation, the 94th showed "the ability to innovate and accomplish the mission far beyond the call of duty."
The 94th's mission was to provide support to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. Headquarters Company provided intelligence, training and logistics.
A Company conducted logistics patrols, placed 3,000 barriers in eastern Baghdad, issued fuel and distributed water and ammunition.
B Company completed more than 11,000 work orders and, when a vehicle was damaged or destroyed, sanitized the vehicle and repaired it for recirculation.
C Company provided medical support to FOB Rustamiyah.
"John Wooden was a basketball coach for UCLA back in the 60s and 70s and he won seven consecutive national championships," said Lt. Col. Anthony M. Coston at the ceremony. "He has a quote that I love that says, 'It takes ten hands to score two points.' It takes everybody to have a championship team, and I think that represents us at the 94th BSB."
Coston spoke of the difference of individual awards and those awards earned as part of a team, but the Wooden quote could equally apply to the 94th's efforts within the larger context of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Headquarters Company specifically created the plan to close FOB Rustamiyah, which the base did in March. They also improved Iraqi security by training them in logistics and employing advisory teams. C Company, in addition to providing medical support, performed ground and aerial evacuations and managed all flights in and out of FOB Rustamiyah.
The achievement above and beyond what their mission required was not without sacrifice. Sgt. Mark Stone and Sgt. Marcus Mathes died during a rocket attack on Rustamiyah on April 28, 2008.
"Those two paid the ultimate sacrifice," said Coston. "We remember them well today and every day."
Coston and Command Sgt. Maj. Rebecca Farrell added the streamer to the 94th's already streamer-laden colors.
"We are honored and humbled to be the ones to add another streamer to our colors," said Coston. "All who follow in being assigned to the 94th BSB will get to wear their Meritorious Unit Commendation with their oak leaf cluster. Many on the field who deployed with the battalion and earned this on behalf of all of us and endured those hardships and earned this recognition, they wear that medal for a lifetime as a permanent award."