By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public AffairsJune 14, 2010
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The 15th Sustainment Brigade "Wagonmasters" handed over the sustainment mission for United States Divisions - North and Center to the 3rd Sustainment Brigade during a ceremony here May 25.
The 15th Sust. Bde. assumed the sustainment mission for the then Multi-National Division - North at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Iraq, on Oct. 5.
"This ceremonial transition of authority is truly a significant moment in the history of our global war on terrorism," said Brig. Gen. Paul Wentz, the commander of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). "With this passing of colors we begin to lay in the final pieces of the enduring footprint for our final phase of operations here in Iraq."
The sustainment mission in Iraq has seen a number of changes since Oct., including moving from five sustainment brigades in the country to just two, Wentz said.
"I especially want to credit the 'Wagonmaster' Soldiers for the role they've played during this transitional period and for their courage to take on more responsibilities than any other sustainment brigade in the history of Operation Iraqi Freedom," Wentz said.
Since Oct., the 15th Sust. Bde. has integrated the capabilities of seven different Combat Sustainment Support Battalions and their Special Troops Battalion, totalling nearly 7,000 Soldiers, located on 25 different bases throughout northern and central Iraq, Wentz explained.
The 15th Sust. Bde. had been training for this deployment for a long time by supporting the units at Fort Hood, Texas, before the unit deployed, said Col. Larry Phelps, the brigade's commander.
"It has all come to fruition on this day," Phelps said.
Phelps thanked the commanders and Soldiers of each of the brigade's previous subordinate units.
"They can rest assured in the knowledge that they made a difference and made every day better," Phelps said.
During the ceremony, the brigades' Special Troops Battalions also transferred authority, passing Habur Gate and the country's finance and human resources missions over to the 3rd STB, said Lt. Col. Paula Lodi, the 15th STB's commander.
The STB will still focus on redeployment missions and the closure of COL Q-West, Lodi said. Many of the battalion's staff members and Soldiers were absent from the ceremony in order to continue those missions.
"I am in awe of what you are able to accomplish individually and collectively on a daily basis throughout this tour," Lodi said.
Phelps thanked the 3rd Sust. Bde. command team for making the transition an easy one, and offered a little insight to their future.
"The meek may inherit the Earth, but the 3rd SB gets the mission," Phelps said. "We know you will do a great job."