Provider Soldiers get together for night of fun, barbecue

Story and Photo by Staff Sgt. Joel F. Gibson
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), gathered May 22 for a night of barbecue, relaxation and team building at the 13th SC(E) headquarters complex at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

The event, an organizational day for the HHC, was intended to be way for Soldiers to get together outside of work and interact prior to their pending redeployment, said 1st Sgt. Francis Halmsteiner, first sergeant with HHC, 13th SC(E), and a Dededo, Guam, native.

The idea for an organizational day came together in April.

“I was at the compound, talking to the commander, and she said we needed to do an organizational day,” said Sgt. Austin Nightingale, an executive administrative assistant with HHC, 13th SC(E), and a Missoula, Mont., Native.

Scheduling, when working with a group of Soldiers who run 24-hour operations, immediately became a challenge.

“It had to be at the (13th SC(E) headquarters), and it had to take place at night, so the day shift and night shift could both participate,” Nightingale said.

Soldiers participated in card games, table tennis, checkers and played video games while enjoying barbecue catered by food service specialists who work at the dining facility here.

“It’s a great idea to get everyone together so they can loosen up and relax,” said Spc. Melissa Posey, an automated logistics specialist with the 13th SC(E) and Philadelphia, Miss., native.

“It’s great, because we get a chance to (meet with) people from other sections,” Posey said.

The theme of seeing people from other parts of the command was a fairly constant one for all participants, some of whom had not seen each other since the command deployed to Iraq from Fort Hood in July, 2009.

“I think it’s great for the command to bring everyone together outside of work and just give us a chance to socialize with each other,” said Capt. Anthony Lenze, an attorney with the 13th SC(E) and a Valencia, Pa, native.

While some Soldiers looked at the event as a way to meet with people they hadn’t seen in awhile, or as a team-building exercise, most agreed that it accomplished the job of helping people relax.

“It’s a great distraction, to be able to forget about the hustle and bustle of work for a few hours and just have a good time and good food with fellow Soldiers,” said Spc. Martha Bolt, a paralegal with HHC, 13th SC(E), and Managua, Nicaragua, native.


news photo
Sgt. Maj. Jerry M. Charles, plans noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Hempstead, N.Y., native, ponders a move during a game of checkers May 22 at an organizational day at the command headquarters at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.