By Sgt. Gaelen Lowers, 3rd Sustainment Bde., 3rd ID Public AffairsMay 27, 2010
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - A lot has changed since the beginnings of the war in Iraq, and many of the Soldiers of the 3rd Sustainment Brigade are seeing it come full swing.
On the morning of May 25, the 15th Sustainment Brigade "Wagonmasters," out of Fort Hood, Texas, and their Special Troops Battalion, transferred authority of their mission over to the 3rd Sustainment Bde. "Providers" and its STB, during a casing and uncasing of the colors and a transfer of authority ceremony at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
"The Provider Soldiers come to Iraq with a lot of experience," said Brig. Gen. Paul Wentz, commander of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. "This is your fourth deployment, and I cannot think of a better team to replace the Wagonmasters without missing a beat than you Rock of the Marne Soldiers."
"You always have mixed emotions when leaving a mission like this," said Col. Larry Phelps, the 15th Sustainment Brigade commander. "As I mentioned earlier, I would really like to stick around for another six months to see the end state of this mission."
Although Col. Phelps expressed his desires to see the mission through, he also said he had full confidence in the 3rd Sustainment Bde.'s ability to complete the mission and usher in the conditions for Operation New Dawn, which is set to begin in September.
"You probably noticed our smiles during the ceremony," he said. "Much of that is due to the fact that [the 15th Sustainment Bde.] has a lot of confidence in the 3rd Sustainment Brigade. We feel really good about [the transition]."
The 15th Sustainment Bde. met and surpassed the mission tasked to them, said Brig. Gen. Wentz. While in theater, the brigade executed more than 5,000 convoys, driving 5.7 million miles, which put in perspective, is enough to drive to the moon and back 12 times. They hauled more than 109 million gallons of fuel and more than 106 million cases of water. That's enough to provide 50 20-ounce bottles of water for every resident in the state of Texas, he continued.
"Perhaps your most impressive feat was completing your very difficult and taxing sustainment mission with no loss of life," he said. "Taking everybody home is every commander's solemn vow to the Families and friends who await them when they return."
Colonel Shawn Morrissey, commander of the 3rd Sustainment Bde., gave assurances to the 13th ESC and the 15th Sustainment Bde. that the mission will be accomplished due to his Soldiers.
"So as the Wagonmaster team departs, let it be known that the mission will be accomplished because of my credentials... and those credentials are the Soldiers who stand before you," he said.
Brigadier General Wentz finished his speech by talking about the 3rd Sustainment Brigade's tough road ahead.
"Certainly, your rucksack will not be light on challenges, but I know you are ready to do your part, writing your own next chapter in your already illustrious history," he concluded.