90th Sustainment Brigade colors deployed first time since World War II

Story and photos by U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Twist
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 304th Sustainment Brigade transferred command to the 90th Sustainment Brigade in a transfer of authority ceremony held Sept. 15 here on Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

The ceremony marked the end of a year-long deployment for the 304th Sust. Bde., out of Riverside, Calif., and the beginning for the 90th Sust. Bde., out of Little Rock, Ark.

Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), addressed service members at the ceremony.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank the service members here in attendance,” said Wentz. “You are the most professional military force in the world, confident, competent and disciplined. We are successful because of your dedication, hard work and sacrifice.”

During the last 11 months, the 304th has executed 1,532 convoys for a total of more than 6.6 million miles, delivering more than 100 million gallons of fuel, 34 million gallons of bulk water, 75 million bottles of water and multi-class supplies.

“For the last 11 months, the 304th Sust. Bde. has provided world class sustainment and distribution support in support of the theater mission,” said Wentz.

The 304th did an exceptional job in a tough environment and led the mission with professionalism and resolve, said Wentz. They did everything asked of them with class and courage, and their efforts were critical in improving the security here in Iraq, Wentz said.

“I am confident that the 90th is prepared and ready to assume the enormous task that lies ahead,” said Wentz.

He said he looks forward to working with the brigade as they spearhead the responsible withdrawal of equipment and personnel from Iraq.

Lt. Col. Norman Green, commander of the 304th, who was awarded a Bronze Star at the ceremony, praised the incoming brigade.

“The Soldiers of the 90th Sust. Bde., you are the right brigade at the right time to replace the 304th,” said Green. “You will inherit a very complex mission and I know that you will continue to refine and modify the current mission to set the stage for a responsible withdrawal.”

Col. Gary L. Spry, the commander of the 90th, said the unit is ready.

“The 90th stands ready to accept this challenging mission,” said Spry. “I challenge the Soldiers of the 90th Sustainment Brigade to exceed the high standards set by the 304th.”

Spry said the transfer of authority marks a historic point in the 90th’s colors history, as this is the first time since World War II the colors were deployed to a theater of war. He said the mission will change, but it is imperative Soldiers remain flexible and committed to success.

Spry, reciting General George Patton, said, “All the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in a great chain.”


news photo
Col. Gary L. Spry, the commander of the 90th Sustainment Brigade out of Little Rock, Ark., and Command Sgt. Maj. Willie A. Griffin, with the 90th Sust. Bde., uncase their colors during a transfer of authority ceremony Sept. 15 here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The 90th assumed authority from the 304th Sust. Bde.