By Mrs. Jennifer Hartwig (3rd ID)June 10, 2010
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The 3rd Sustainment Brigade commander, Col. Shawn M. Morrissey, spoke with reporters to discuss the 3rd Sustainment Bde. mission and the current landscape in Iraq, June 3.
The 15th Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, transferred authority of their mission over to the 3rd Sustainment Bde. during a casing and uncasing of the colors and a transfer of authority ceremony at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, May 25.
"The 3rd Sustainment Brigade's mission is to sustain U.S. Division-Central and U.S. Division-North with all commodities, ranging from fuel to ammunition to food, maintenance parts, anything that the force needs to sustain itself," said Col. Morrissey. "That is our core task and focus. Simultaneously, we're also part of the retrograde mission of moving seven years worth of equipment out of Iraq."
The main part of the mission, sustaining the force, is the same as it has been for 3rd Sustainment Bde.'s previous deployments, but the secondary mission, moving the equipment out of Iraq, is new.
There are 6,000 Soldiers under 3rd Sustainment Bde. this deployment, with four battalions responsible for 72 percent of the sustainment and retrograde operations in Iraq. Two of those battalions are organic to 3rd Sustainment Bde. - the Special Troops Battalion from Fort Stewart, and the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, out of Fort Benning. In addition, the 541st CSSB out of Fort Riley, Kan., and 373rd CSSB, a reserve unit out of Texas fall under Col. Morrissey's command, he said.
The two organic 3rd Sustainment Bde. units have very different missions.
The STB "Hellraisers'" main mission is to sustain the brigade headquarters, and to be responsible for command and control for all Human Resource Management and Finance for all U.S. troops in Iraq.
"[They are responsible for] all of the money that's collected and dispersed (and for) contracts throughout Iraq," Col. Morrissey said. "Additionally, they are responsible for the (Human Resources), which is the administrative tool or mission of managing personnel in and out of theater - who's going on leave, administrative actions, etc. Both huge, huge missions over a large surface area."
In contrast, the Log Warriors of the 13th CSSB's main mission is to sustain the force.
"The Log Warriors, like the other three [CSSB] battalions, they have a similar mission just a different geographic location - they sustain," said Col. Morrissey. "They are the battalion subordinate to us (that) has all of the supply/support activities. They have all of the fuel runs; they have all of the trucks; they have all of the mechanics. Again, they sustain the force while simultaneously and physically move the mountain of equipment south toward Kuwait."
With the drawback of troops out of Iraq and the oncoming Operation New Dawn, there are many changes coming to U.S. forces in Iraq, and the 3rd Sustainment Brigade will be a large part of that change.
"We're sustaining the force while we simultaneously move equipment," said Col. Morrissey. "As we're moving in the direction that our President has directed us, toward Operation New Dawn come Sept. 1, we will leave in Iraq the equipment necessary to still continue the mission - which is to sustain - and the (brigade combat teams) will retain the equipment necessary to advise and assist the Iraqi military. The equipment not necessary to accomplish that mission will be moved out."
For Col. Morrissey, the landscape in Iraq is significantly different than in his last deployment, which was during the Surge.
"My last [deployment] was during the surge. The landscape now is noticeably different and remarkably optimistic," he said. "As a guy who's been here three times in the past several years, the progress is remarkable. The Iraqis have the lead... It's clear to me that they have the lead, and we're here (the other brigades at Fort Stewart and others) advising and assisting. It's very optimistic; we like what we're seeing, and I think we have succeeded, and we've set the conditions for when we depart Iraq for them to do great things as we move on."
In closing, Col. Morrissey said that his troops are ready to complete their mission.
"To give the Family confidence, the best thing I can say to them is, their Soldiers are trained, they're ready," he said. "I want to thank (the Families), because not only are we trained, ready and equipped properly, we're also able to do it because of them. I'm a husband, I'm a father and I'm also a son, and without that support network that I have, I wouldn't be able to be on my fourth or fifth combat tour, or be able to lead this great organization. The Families should be very proud - we're ready, and I want to thank them. I thank them from the bottom of my heart, and I'm very proud to be their brigade commander, and I will do everything in my power to bring them all home in about 11 months. We all look forward to seeing them all again."