13th SC(E) CG visits troops in MND-S
Story and Photo by Spc. Naveed Ali Shah
13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) Public Affairs
Basra, Iraq — Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), visited southern Iraq Oct. 1, where the 36th Sustainment Brigade took charge of logistics operations at Contingency Operating Locations Basra and Bucca, Iraq, in September.
Basra is home to the 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard.
Bucca was a detainee operation center until the last detainee was moved out of the prison camp Sept. 17.
Now, units on COL Bucca provide military transition teams and a port of entry team to work with the Iraqi Security Forces and the Umm Qasar Port Authority in an effort to get the port fully functional. In addition, the ice plant located there provides potable water to the local communities, said Bucca’s commander, Marine Col. Daniel J. Lund.
At Basra, Wentz toured the supply support area, the ammunition transfer and holding point, and the fuel point. He also visited the ice plant at Bucca.
Wentz also met with the Deputy Commanding General for Multi-National Division-South, Brig. Gen. Gerald E. Lang in Basra.
During the tour, Wentz was briefed on the SSA operations by the officer in charge of the SSA at Basra, 2nd Lt. Jackie Oeser, with the 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 36th Sustainment Brigade, 13th SC(E) and a Montgomery, Ala., native.
“At first we did struggle because it was a tough managing all the equipment, but my Soldiers did a good job of getting everything under control,” said Oeser.
Oeser, a graduate of the United States Military Academy, class of 2008, said the backup of supplies causes productivity to slow down, but her team is working 12 to 14-hour shifts to alleviate that stress.
“My (noncommissioned officers) have great ideas and we are working to get to a point by the end of October to never be backed up like this again,” said Oeser.
Wentz encouraged the unit to continue improving the area for the next unit.
“It’s frustrating right now, but you have to remember how difficult it was for you so when it’s time for you to leave, you don’t leave it like this for the next unit,” said Wentz. “I look forward to coming back in November to see it all done.”
Wentz continued his tour at the ATHP at Basra, which supplies ammunition to all the troops in the southern Iraq region.
“The NCOs run (ATHP) like a well-oiled machine,” said Lt. Col. Michael Phillips, commander, 308th BSB. “They’re great NCOs and the training they help provide, such as close quarter marksmanship, helps keep us safe.”
Overall, Wentz said he was pleased with the visit and will take the lessons learned back to Balad, but he also left a message for the Soldiers of COL Bucca and COL Basra.
“Enforcing simple tasks and simple standards is the difference between right and wrong,” said Wentz. “It’s up to you leaders out here, not us at Balad to get that message to your Soldiers."
He said basic discipline and standards make the difference between Soldiers getting hurt and Soldiers doing the right thing.
Wentz said, “We have to do our part to set the right conditions for the Soldiers that follow us.”
Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), talks with postal Soldiers Oct. 1 during a visit to Contingency Operating Locations Basra and Bucca, Iraq.
During a visit to Contingency Operating Location Basra Oct. 1, Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), meets with 2nd Lt. Jackie Oeser, the officer in charge of the supply support area at Contingency Operating Location Basra, Iraq, with the 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 36th Sustainment Brigade, 13th SC(E).
Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), discusses the responsible drawdown of U.S. troops and forces from Iraq with Contingency Operating Location Bucca commander, Marine Col. Daniel J. Lund, during an Oct. 1 visit to COLs Basra and Bucca.
Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general, 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary), and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jimmy Vasquez, senior logistics adviser to Wentz, 13th SC(E), meet with Deputy Commanding General for Multi-National Division-South, Brig. Gen. Gerald E. Lang, during a visit Oct. 1 to Contingency Operating Locations Basra and Bucca.