By Jim Hinnant, 401st Army Field Support BrigadeMay 29, 2008
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Several of the Army's senior logisticians completed a Southwest Asia-wide visit to interact with Army Materiel Command Soldiers, civilians and supporting contractors, as well as supported warfighting units, May 28.
General Benjamin S. Griffin, commanding general, AMC was joined on the nine-day journey to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan by current U.S. Army G4, Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody; Commanding General, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Robert M. Radin; Executive Director, U. S. Army Contracting Command, Mr. Jeffrey P. Parsons and AMC's top enlisted Soldier, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey J. Mellinger.
The main purpose for the visit was to assess AMC operations and support in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom areas of operation. In order to accomplish this, the schedule was packed with visits to supported warfighting units in both operational areas.
Arriving on the evening of May 20, the party spent a brief time with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade logisticians based here, and departed for Iraq via C-17, mid-afternoon on the next day.
While in Iraq, Griffin toured the Iraqi army's Taji National Military Depot, where he was briefed on the current state, and future plans for the facility, which according to Robert Blanton, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade, gives the Iraqi army the ability to perform maintenance on a wide variety of vehicles and other equipment.
At a Camp Taji luncheon, Griffin presented Blanton with a Superior Civilian Service Award and met his son, Robert Blanton Jr., who, like the elder Blanton, is deployed to Iraq from Red River Army Depot, Texarkana, Texas.
The group also met with the command and staffs of Multi-National Division-North at Forward Operating Base Speicher (pronounced 'spiker'), 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Task Force XII Aviation, 1st Sustainment Brigade, and others.
At each stop the group was briefed on current operations and the state of logistic support provided by AMC and ACC. Comments from each commander who met with the group were positive; a consistent subject of discussion was the new Army Contracting Command and the way forward in the area of contract operations.
As the commanding general of U.S. Army Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Radin oversees both of the AFSBs visited during the trip; this was an opportunity for him to interact with these units, which are two of ASC's seven army field support brigades.
At every venue, Mellinger met with Soldiers and eagerly sought their input on issues of concern.
Remaining in Iraq until Sunday, Griffin and party then departed for Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan and a like visit to AMC units and warfighting elements in the combat theater there.
While in Bagram, Griffin presented awards to outgoing 401st AFSB commander, Col. Dennis M. Thompson; 3rd Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Iraj Gharagouzloo and Lt. Col. Robert B. Brown III, the chief of plans and operations at the 401st's forward command post. This trip was also a return to the Southwest Asia area of operations for Dunwoody, who will soon assume duties as AMC's deputy commanding general.