36th Engineer Brigade uncases colors, 194th reaches mission end

Story and photos by Spc. Michael Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 194th Engineer Brigade out of Jackson, Tenn., transferred authority to the 36th Engineer Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, during a ceremony March 25 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

The 194th Eng. Bde., was led by Brig. Gen. Robert Harris, a Tullahoma, Tenn., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Hudson, a McKenzie, Tenn., native, and oversaw engineer units from the Army and Air Force.

The 36th Eng. Bde. will serve as the higher command for engineer units spread throughout Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and will train the Iraqi Army engineers.

Col. Kent Savre, commander of the 36th Eng. Bde., said the 194th Eng. Bde. made an enormous contribution to U.S. and Iraqi military forces in Iraq. The 36th Eng. Bde. will continue the mission the 194th served and the progress they made, said Savre, a Edina, Minn., native.

"As we inherit responsibilities as the theater engineer brigade during this historic period in Iraqi history," he said, "we have before us the unique opportunity to execute the spectrum of engineer operations and assure mobility, enabling the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces and the successful transition to stability and support operations as the Iraqi people truly take the lead in the governance and security of their great nation."

Savre said he was thankful for the knowledge and training the 194th provided to the 36th for its new mission in Iraq. The 194th showed a high level of professionalism and hospitality during the transition between the two commands, he said.

As the Iraq Joint Operations Area engineer brigade, the 36th will provide engineer support to the joint military operations just as the 194th did, said 1st Lt. John Saindon, deputy officer in charge of the engineer section, with the 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) out of Fort Hood, Texas.

"This includes vertical and horizontal (support), which means all the way from road clearance to actual structure building throughout the whole Iraqi theater," said Saindon, a San Antonio native. "It's a huge job for a brigade."

While the 194th was deployed, it worked heavily with the 13th ESC and its sustainment operations, said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Taylor, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the engineer section with the 13th ESC.

The 194th worked cooperatively with the 13th ESC on several missions, such as construction at JBB and other areas of operation, he said. Recently the 194th assisted in the expansion of the Container Repair Yard and the Central Receiving and Shipping Point at JBB, said Taylor, a Copperas Cove, Texas, native.

"We work directly with all these major projects … with the 194th, now the 36th, to get these projects done," he said.

The 194th was a well-run and professional group to work with and a strong managing command for its subordinate units, Taylor said.

"The 36th are our brethren on Fort Hood, so I expect (the 13th) will have just as good of a working relationship with them (here)," he said.

While interacting with new units, there is a learning curve for establishing a working relationship, said Taylor.

"If you're familiar with somebody, you work better with them," he said. "You know the commands, you're used to working together and everybody falls into their niche."

The 36th will continue the strong joint efforts between the 13th ESC and 332nd Air expeditionary Wing during the upcoming responsible drawdown, said Taylor.

"The 194th definitely did everything well above and beyond, and I know the 36th will too," he said.

The 36th Eng. Bde. has a large mission ahead of it, but with strong leadership and history, they stand ready, said Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the deputy commanding general of operations with United States Forces – Iraq.

"They're an amazing unit, they're Fort Hood and we know them well," said Cone, a Manchester, N.H., native. "An incredible amount of capabilities, a talented organization … the right unit, right place, right time."

Cone said the 36th and other units from Fort Hood deployed in Iraq are working together for Iraq's future. Cone said he wanted families back home to know that their Soldiers are safe and working to bring change to the redeveloped country.

"They're over here and doing well, and they want their families to know that they're doing a mission they're focused on, that will lead to a better Iraq," he said.

Savre said the 36th's service in Iraq will continue the brigade's long military legacy.

"Just as the 36th fought with distinction in World War II, the Korean War, the Gulf War and on multiple deployments in support of our nation's ongoing war on terror," he said, "it's now our turn again to make a contribution … and continue building upon the Rugged Brigade's proud history of service to our nation."


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Col. Kent Savre, commander of the 36th Engineer Brigade and an Edina, Minn., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. Terrence Murphy, senior enlisted adviser with the 36th Eng. Bde. and an Amarillo, Texas, native, uncase their brigade colors during a transfer of authority ceremony March 25 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The 36th Engineer Brigade, out of Fort Hood, Texas, took over as the Iraq Joint Operations Area engineer brigade.