|‘Climbing to Glory’— Logistics Task Force 548 in Iraq
|by Captain Amy B. Smith, USAR
The 548th Corps Support Battalion, a unit of
the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) from Fort Drum,
New York, was task-organized in support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom 05–07 as Logistics Task Force (LTF) 548. The
battalion deployed in September 2005 and was assigned to the
40th Corps Support Group, 3d Corps Support Command, at Logistics
Support Area Anaconda, located in Balad, Iraq.
The battalion’s mission was to support Multi-National
Corps-Iraq by operating the major distribution activities at
Logistics Support Area Anaconda, including the corps storage
area, joint distribution center, central receiving and shipping
point, two supply support activities, and the corps forward
redistribution point. LTF 548 also provided responsive vehicle
recovery, maintenance, water supply, and cargo-handling support
through forward-echeloned teams operating at up to 15 forward
operating bases throughout Iraq.
LTF 548 served as the command and control element for 11 units,
including a direct support maintenance company, a general support
supply company, a cargo transfer company, a water supply company,
a water purification detachment, a field artillery battery,
an ordnance company, a headquarters detachment, an aerial delivery
platoon, and a mortuary affairs team. However, providing a
full spectrum of logistics support in a combat environment
was only the beginning of the LTF’s mission. The LTF
also was responsible for the safety and force protection of
more than 1,100 troops from those units.
Soldiers from as far west as Guam and as far east as the Virgin
Islands united to form LTF 548. Different components of the
Army also united: three Active component, three Army National
Guard, and five Army Reserve. The units of LTF 548 included—
548th Headquarters Detachment, from Fort Drum, New York.
21st Cargo Transfer Company, from Fort Lewis, Washington.
647th Aerial Delivery Detachment, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
610th Quartermaster Company, Army National Guard (ARNG), from the Virgin Islands.
641st Quartermaster Company, ARNG, from Ohio.
B Battery, 5113 Field Artillery Battalion, ARNG, from North Carolina.
322d Maintenance Company, U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), from Minnesota.
400th Quartermaster Company, USAR, from Kentucky.
909th Quartermaster Company, USAR, from Guam.
452d Ordnance Company, USAR, from South Dakota.
311th Mortuary Affairs Team, USAR, from Puerto Rico.
The mentality of “one team-one fight” was emphasized from the beginning;
standards were the same across the board. All members of the task force learned
the 10th Mountain Division motto on the first day in Iraq. A subordinate would
say, “Support the Sword,” while saluting a superior passing by or
acknowledging that he understood an assigned task, and the superior would respond, “Climb
to Glory.” For the company commanders in the LTF, “Supporting the
Sword” meant executing the task force commander’s intent—“to
maintain a mission-oriented environment always focused on providing consistent,
world-class logistics support to customer units.”
To accomplish this task, each unit needed to translate the idea of “consistent
excellence” into specifics for its particular mission. Successfully doing
this depended on two factors. The first was to make sure that the individual
Soldier—the backbone of the task force—knew the purpose behind what
he was expected to do and developed a sense of pride in unit accomplishment.
The second, and more time-consuming, task was to improve the operations that
the units fell in on—to make a lasting impression in the sand.
Every unit in LTF 548 supported the sword by improving the foxhole. The task
force completed substantial mission-related infrastructure and force-protection
improvements at major operational sites. Detailed accounts of these improvements
can be found in the articles that follow: Air
Sustainment Operations at LSA Anaconda
, Operating a Central Receiving and Shipping
Point, LSA Anaconda’s Forward Redistribution
, Mortuary Affairs Facility Improvements at
LSA Anaconda, Recovery Operations at LSA
Providing Clean Water to the Soldier, Supplying
Ammunition at LSA Anaconda. The intent of these
articles is to document the lessons learned by LTF 548 in providing a wide range
of multifunctional logistics support to units across Iraq and to provide “blueprints” that
other units might use if tasked with similar missions.
Captain Amy B. Smith, USAR, is the Assistant S–4 of the 120th Infantry
Brigade (Training Support), U.S. Army Reserve, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. She
was the Operations Officer and Executive Officer of the 21st Cargo Transfer Company
at Balad, Iraq, when this article was written. She has a B.A. degree in criminal
justice and Spanish from Siena Heights University and is a graduate of the Transportation
Officer Basic Course.