Belton Military Relations Committee visits with 13th SC (E)

By: Fabian Ortega

The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) met with the Belton Chamber of Commerce’s Military Relations Committee recently during their annual visit that is intended to update the committee on unit changes and other undertakings on the installation. 

Col. Jim Rice, 1st Medical Brigade Commander and rear commander of 13th SC (E), welcomed the committee to 13th SC (E) Headquarters, on behalf of Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commanding general of 13th SC (E) currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and were given an initial briefing from Lt. Col. Robert Reister, rear Chief of Staff, highlighting 13th SC (E)’s notable changes and accomplishments.

Reister was preceded by a welcome video from Brig. Gen. Terry expressing his gratitude for the support the city Belton and its chamber has given the 13th SC (E) stating, “It is the support from people like you that keeps the soldiers’ spirits up while they are away from their families and loved ones.” 

The commanding general also touched on other happenings within the 13th SC (E) and pointed out the inactivation of the 64th Corps Support Group and the addition of the 4th Sustainment Brigade. 

The 4th SB great command team of Col. Gus Perna and Command Sgt. Maj. Trent O. Ellis, we welcome them, they truly are a great team, the Perna family are no strangers to 13th SC (E), Terry said. 

“The inactivation of the 64th CSG is pretty emotional for me since I commanded that brigade, its part of our transformation in the Army, particularly in logistics,” said Terry.

Reister followed up the video and explained, “There are always changes being made within Fort Hood.” “The 64th CSG has been inactivated. This is a big deal because they have a long history on Fort Hood. When a unit is inactivated, their colors never go away and if there ever comes a time that we need them again, they can be re-activated.”

“The 4th Sustainment Brigade came from 4th Infantry Division over to us as a brigade command,” Reister continued. “Also, the 62nd Engineer Battalion was moved from the 13th SC (E) over to the 36th Engineer Brigade, which is a new brigade here on the base,” Reister added.

Committee members, Jay Taggart, the Belton Chamber of Commerce’s Military Relations Committee Chairman and Dr. Jerry Bawcom, the President of the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, presented the 13th SC (E) with a couple of keepsakes after the briefing. 

Taggart presented the 13th SC (E) with a picture of the city of Belton framed and Dr. Bawcom presented a UMHB flag.

“[Soldiers] are living their life protecting this country and I think that it is important that we not only acknowledge that, but that we also support them as well” expressed Taggart. 

“These guys are our heroes and we need to make sure that they know that.”

Afterwards, the group took a tour of the 555th Forward Surgical Team’s Emergency Medical tent display. The facility was shown to demonstrate current emergency health care capabilities FST’s and other medical units have at their disposal in Iraq and other countries where the 13th SC (E) is currently engaged. 

“This tent with supplies runs at about three million dollars,” explained Reister. “It is important that they have the best facilities available.” 

After visiting with the 555th, the group got a taste of what Soldiers face in some sectors of Iraq. During the simulation, Soldiers took enemy fire and sufferedcasualty. The Soldier’s demonstrated to the committee what actions to take in the event of something similar occurring in Iraq.

After the demonstration, some members of the group were allowed to participate in a weapons simulator during simulated live fire exercise, discharging simulated M 16-A2 rounds onto a screen full of enemy insurgents.

After the touring the simulators and after lunch, Col. Gus Perna, commander of the 4th SB, briefed the group on conditions and situations that the soldiers went through while they served overseas and wrapped up the day with some parting words.

“The soldiers that work with the transportation and the supplies are the unsung heroes,” stated Col. Perna. 

“Without these soldiers behind the scenes keeping everything running smoothly and efficiently, nothing would get done and none of us would be able to do our job.”