JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - It's official. The 3rd Sustainment Brigade has made its way to Iraq and is starting the process of picking up the logistical mission from the 15th Sustainment Brigade of Fort Hood, Texas.

The process of getting the 3rd Sustainment Bde. here was a long and complicated one, said 1st Sgt. Paul Robinson, first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, who has been here since the beginning of April. Because of recent natural disasters, European airspace was made a no-fly zone, delaying planes and causing flights to be cancelled. However, once the Solders finally hit the ground, they went right to work settling in and getting prepared.

Prior to coming to Iraq, the brigade stopped in Kuwait for mandatory training that is required of every Soldier before coming to Iraq and the theater of operations. The main purpose of the training in Kuwait is safety, said 1st Sgt. Robinson. Analysis shows that with the training, there are fewer accidents, and there are a lower number of fatal accidents. "If you're better trained, then you know how to better react," he said.

Once the Soldiers touched ground in Iraq, they went about getting settled into their rooms and taking care of personal issues. "We wanted to make sure that everyone knew what they were doing, where they were working, that all their finances were squared away, making sure everyone is healthy and generally making sure that everyone is taken care of," 1st Sgt. Robinson added.

Life support was the main concern of the advanced party that was sent to Iraq earlier than the rest of the unit. If a person is not settled in properly, then their mind will not be on the mission; they won't be able to concentrate, said 1st Sgt. Robinson.

"I know I wouldn't be able to keep my mind on task," said Spc. Matthew Smith, a 3rd Sustainment Bde. surgeon cell Soldier. "If you don't get those things done beforehand, then it's just added stressors. If you jump head first into the mission and you don't have all of your personal things taken care of, then you may miss something critical that might be hazardous to the mission or lives."

All and all, the 3rd Sustainment Brigade is here and ready for the challenge, said Maj. Charlie Ward, the brigade operations officer. We are settled in and ready to take over the mission.

"We have been preparing for this for months," said Spc. Smith. "We are trained, prepared and ready to take on the mission that has been tasked to us. We're definitely ready."