36th Sust. Bde. commander meets tribal leaders

Story and photo by Army Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CAMP ADDER, Iraq — As the 287th Sustainment Brigade transferred authority to the 36th Sustainment Brigade this week, they also handed over the key to much of their success here, a partnership with the shaykhs of the Al Ghizzie tribe.

The commanders of the 287th and 36th, Col. Robert Schmitt and Col. Sean Ryan, respectively, their command sergeants major, Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Newton and Command Sgt. Maj. Elizabeth Shockley, and the chief of civil military operations for the brigades, Lt. Col. Clinton Moyer, met with the shaykhs for dinner at the home of Shaykh Ali Manshed.

“The goal of the dinner was for Col. Schmitt to thank the shaykhs for their friendship and to introduce them to Col. Ryan,” said Moyer, a Clearwater, Kan., native.

“The shaykhs have been really instrumental in a lot of ways for us,” he said.

Moyer said the tribal leaders helped the 287th throughout the deployment by talking to the families on their land to ensure the local children stayed away from the convoys and out of harm’s way.

The Al Ghizzie tribe owns much of the land outside Camp Adder, and all the water pumps that bring water to Adder and the surrounding contingency operating locations.

Ryan said the partnership with the tribe will be vital to the mission. He said meeting the local leaders is paramount on an operational and tactical level because it keeps them informed of the local populace’s attitude and their operational environment.

“We appreciate what they are doing with the pump houses,” said Ryan. “I wanted to reassure the shaykhs that we will continue partnering with them.”

After the dinner, Manshed invited his guests inside for tea and friendly conversation, where Ryan told them about his home and showed pictures of his family.

“You are among your friends and family,” said Manshed through an interpreter. “This is like your tribe.”

As Ryan spent time getting to know his new friends, Schmitt said goodbye and thanked the shaykhs, who, for the first time, all gathered to meet with the 287th.

“This was the best meeting we’ve had,” said Schmitt. “It was a fantastic way to end our deployment.”


news photo
Col. Sean Ryan and Col. Robert Schmitt, commanders of the 36th and 287th Sustainment Brigades, respectively, joke with the leaders of the Al Ghizzie tribe after dinner Sept. 17, at the home of Shaykh Ali Manshed, outside of Camp Adder, Iraq.
(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg)