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Logistics Warriors

I am very proud of the Soldiers of the 15th Sustainment Brigade. They did an outstanding job of “Supporting the Action” in Iraq. During their deployment, the 4,000-plus Soldiers of the brigade ensured that both U.S. and Coalition forces throughout Iraq had the food, ammunition, fuel, maintenance support, equipment, and repair parts they needed to take the fight to the enemy and sustain the force. They also provided medical, financial, and personnel support to the force.

The 15th Sustainment Brigade sustained Multi-National Division-Baghdad (MND–B) by providing supply-point and unit distribution for all classes of supply. We also provided direct support to other units throughout our area of operations. The brigade’s subordinate battalions included the 15th Brigade Troops Battalion, 15th Personnel Services Battalion, 15th Finance Battalion, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 867th Corps Support Battalion, and 786th Quartermaster Battalion. Our Soldiers showed continuous enthusiasm for being in Iraq and helping to make a positive difference. When news arrived that their time in theater had been extended, they continued to move forward, and the mission remained their top priority.

What continued to surprise me was that these Soldiers were required not only to be proficient in their logistics or personnel military occupation specialties, but, because of the ever-changing environment of Iraq, they also to had bear a share of the mission’s combat burden. These Soldiers were truly “Logistics Warriors,” even as they continued to be multifunctional at all assigned missions.

The brigade’s officers, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and Soldiers played a critical role in ensuring the success of numerous combat operations. On a daily basis, our Soldiers put their training to the test and traveled some of the most dangerous roads in the world to ensure that first-class support was provided to their brothers and sisters in arms. These Soldiers were logistics heroes. They conquered the treacherous routes traversing their area of responsibility and provided the essentials to our most lethal combat platform, the Soldier. Our logisticians were entrusted each day with operating and maintaining millions of dollars worth of equipment that had a direct impact on combat operations. Logistics officers, NCOs, and Soldiers put a lot of their previous experiences and talents to work.

As I traveled our battlespace visiting our troops, they always amazed me with their understanding of the significance of their contributions to the fight and the importance to the warfighter of performing their mission well. It was a true team effort. I like to use a football team as the analogy for our role. We were like the offensive line: We may not have gotten all the glory, but we were an important part of what the team needed to win. If we were not successful at what we did, then the whole team would suffer.

Our Soldiers provided maintenance support and vehicle enhancements. They provided transportation of all classes of supplies and services. They operated central receiving and shipping points (CRSPs) and arrival/departure airfield control group terminals. Along with Airmen, they operated Army post offices and managed personnel support. They conducted forward operating base security and convoy security escorts. They operated one of the largest ammunition supply points in the theater. And they provided showers and dry clothing repair and acted as mayor of a forward operating base.

The advantage that the logistics warriors bring to the fight is the will to work until the mission is accomplished while constantly improving on their tactics, techniques, and procedures. While visiting one of our CRSP yards, I was impressed to hear that an NCO had drafted an idea that would decrease the upload and download times of the units delivering cargo. This new arrangement would alleviate an ongoing problem and increase efficiency in the yard. The idea was based on his experience on a previous deployment. After I had received a briefing on this, I realized that our young Soldiers know what right looks like, what works and what doesn’t work.

These young warriors are the continuity within our ranks and have experienced multiple ways of running logistics facilities and systems, so they know and understand what the right fixes are for a particular problem. The logistics warriors of the 15th Sustainment Brigade bring a variety of experiences to ensuring the success of the day-to-day fight.

Command Sergeant Major Mark D. Joseph is the Command Sergeant Major of the 15th Sustainment Brigade. He has an associate’s degree in applied science in transportation from City College of Chicago and a B.S. degree in business administration (logistics management) from Touro University and an M.B.A. degree from Touro University. He is a graduate of the Army Sergeants Major Academy.