Leopards Take Over Stagecoach's Trail

By Spc. Andrea Merritt
1st Sustainment Brigade

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq — After 15 months in Iraq, the Soldiers of the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, a Fort Carson, Colo., unit attached to the 1st Sustainment Brigade, can finally say, “mission accomplished.”

The 68th CSSB “Stagecoach” handed over responsibilities to the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during a Transfer of Authority Ceremony, Apr. 14.

The 553rd CSSB “Leopards” will now be in charge of providing Multi-National Division – Baghdad and Multi-National Division – Central with nearly every class of supply, field services, direct support maintenance, and cargo receipt and shipping.

Although the 553rd CSSB has stepped into their footprints, the accomplishments of the 68th CSSB cannot be forgotten.

When the unit first arrived to Iraq in February 2007, it was tasked with providing command and control for the fleet that established Forward Operating Base Hammer, which paved the way for the first brigade that entered theater during the surge.

“It was just an honor for me to serve as battalion commander during such a critical time in the War on Terror, and to be here during the surge supporting the main effort was just a privilege,” said Lt. Col. Darrell Duckworth, the commander of the 68th CSSB.

During their deployment, the 68th CSSB’s tour of duty was extended to 15 months instead of 12; but the Soldiers never complained or lost momentum.

“Our Soldiers worked under some of the most demanding conditions on the planet and never complained. (They) just did the job,” said Duckworth. “Even through the extension, they still continued. They stepped up to the plate and did the job.”

Now that the 68th CSSB’s tour of duty has come to an end, the 553rd CSSB, a Fort Hood Texas unit, is ready to fill their shoes.

“They did a great job. They were very professional and detailed,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Koller, the commander of 553rd CSSB, of the transition process with the 68th CSSB. “I believe the 553rd (CSSB) is ready to take the reins and run with it for the next 15 months.”

Due to the training the Soldiers received before coming to Iraq and the help of the out-going unit, Koller has no doubt that his Soldiers are prepared for the mission ahead.

“The Soldiers are prepared and their families are prepared,” said Koller. “We came with the mindset to execute operations of sustaining the force on Victory Base Complex.”