49th Transportation Battalion celebrates with replacement unit
Story by Spc. Michael Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 49th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) out of Fort Hood, Texas, spent some time getting to know its replacement unit at a battalion social March 28 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The social was a bon voyage party for the 49th Trans. Bn., to which it invited the command staff of the 13th SC(E), its sister battalions and subordinate units, and its replacement unit, the 14th Transportation Battalion out of Vicenza, Italy, said Capt. Leonard Acquistapace, the communications officer with the 49th Trans. Bn.
It was a night to network, talk and relax, said Acquistapace, a Killeen, Texas, native.
The 49th Trans. Bn. has been deployed for roughly a year and has now reached the final step before its redeployment, he said. The event fell on the same day the 14th transitioned to the last part of the relief-in-place process, prior to its transfer of authority ceremony, said Acquistapace.
"Effectively, after the end of that night the 14th was driving the ship," he said. "It gave us a chance, the 49ers, to take a knee and watch, observe and guide (the 14th Trans. Bn.)."
Acquistapace said the 14th Trans. Bn. Soldiers were quick learners, with senior officers and noncommissioned officers experienced in the type of mission they would be conducting in Iraq. The 14th Trans. Bn. will take over as the movement control battalion in support of the Iraq Joint Operations Area.
The 49th's mission was no simple task for the battalion and its movement control teams, said Lt. Col. Peter Haas, commander of the 49th Trans. Bn. Iraq is one of the largest and most complex transportation networks for movement and logistical operations in the Army today, said Haas, a Fleetwood, Pa., native.
"At our peak, we had 19 movement control teams spread all across Iraq," he said, "everywhere from the Turkish border to the Kuwaiti border, out west to the Jordanian border, and everywhere in between."
Haas said it was a challenge to coordinate between the sustainment brigades, aviation units and the Air Force.
"It's a complex, all-encompassing mission, but the challenge is rewarding," he said. "It's exciting business for us. It's something back in the United States we really don't get to duplicate."
Haas said it has been a great mission for the Soldiers, but they are ready to go back home to friends and Family. The 49th Trans. Bn. Family Readiness Group made a tremendous effort to support those at home, making Soldiers' time in Iraq easier, he said.
Haas said he was proud of the Soldiers, Airmen and civilians who were on the ground, making sure cargo got to its destination.
"These Airmen, these Soldiers, they're out there on their own without their higher headquarters anywhere near," he said. "We entrust a lot of responsibility in them and count on their competence to get it done."
The 49th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) out of Fort Hood, Texas, has reached the end of its mission at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, as Iraq's movement control battalion. The battalion's Soldiers and Airmen support personnel and cargo movement operations in the Iraq Joint Operations Area. (U.S. Army photo-illustration by Spc. Michael Camacho)