15th Sust. Bde. hands mission off to the 3rd Sust. Bde.

Photos and story by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 15th Sustainment Brigade handed over the sustainment mission for United States Divisions – North and Center to the 3rd Sustainment Brigade May 25 during a ceremony here.

The 15th Sust. Bde. assumed the sustainment mission Oct. 5, 2009.

“This ceremonial transition of authority is truly a significant moment in the history of our global war on terrorism,” said Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commander of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Mansfield, Ohio native. “With this passing of colors, we begin to lay in the final pieces of the enduring footprint for our final phase of operations here in Iraq.”

The sustainment mission in Iraq has seen a number of changes since October, including restructuring from five sustainment brigades in the country to just two, Wentz said.

“I especially want to credit the Wagonmaster Soldiers for the role they’ve played during this transitional period and for their courage to take on more responsibilities than any other sustainment brigade in the history of Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Wentz said.

Since October, the 15th Sust. Bde. has integrated the capabilities of seven different Combat Sustainment Support Battalions and their Special Troops Battalion, totaling nearly 7,000 Soldiers, located on 25 different bases throughout northern and central Iraq, Wentz said.

The 15th Sust. Bde. had been training for this deployment for a long time by supporting the units at Fort Hood, Texas, before the unit deployed, said Col. Larry Phelps, commander of the 15th Sust. Bde. and a Greenville, Ala., native.

“It has all come to fruition on this day,” Phelps said.

Phelps thanked the commanders and Soldiers of each of the brigade’s previous subordinate units.

“They can rest assured in the knowledge that they made a difference and made every day better,” Phelps said.

During the ceremony, the brigades’ Special Troops Battalions also transferred authority, passing Habur Gate and the country’s finance and human resources missions over to the 3rd STB, said Lt. Col. Paula Lodi, the 15th STB’s commander.

The special troops battalion will still focus on redeployment missions and the closure of Contingency Operating Base Q-West, Iraq, Lodi said.

Many of the battalion’s staff members and Soldiers were absent from the ceremony in order to continue those missions.

“I am in awe of what you are able to accomplish individually and collectively on a daily basis throughout this tour,” Lodi said.

Phelps thanked the 3rd Sust. Bde. command team for making the transition an easy one, and offered a little insight to their future.

“The meek may inherit the Earth, but the 3rd SB gets the mission,” Phelps said. “We know you will do a great job.”


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Col. Larry Phelps (left), commander of 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Greenville, Ala., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel Bartee Sr., command sergeant major with the 15th Sust. Bde., case the brigade’s colors during a transfer of authority ceremony May 25 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The 15th Sust. Bde. passed their sustainment mission to the 3rd Sust. Bde. during the ceremony. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain)

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Lt. Col. Paula Lodi (left), commander of 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Command Sgt. Maj. Clarence Miller Jr., command sergeant major with 15th STB, 15th Sust. Bde., case the battalion’s colors during a transfer of authority ceremony May 25 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain)