13th ESC holds awards ceremony to recognize outstanding Soldiers

Story and photos by Cpl. Rich Barkemeyer
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) honored the contributions of its Soldiers while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom at an awards ceremony June 14 in the East Circuit Gym at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with this group,” said Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th ESC, and a Mansfield, Ohio, native. “Every section pulled its weight, and then some. We did some amazing things.”

The actual awards that were presented as important as recognizing the hard work Soldiers with command performed during their deployment, said Sgt. Maj. Gene Canada, senior enlisted advisor to the assistant chief of staff for logistics with the 13th ESC, and an Austin, Texas, native.

“It’s not about personal recognition, but of the ESC as a whole, including all the (subordinate) units,” he said. “The 13th really did a great job supporting the Iraqi theater.”

The 13th ESC assumed command and control of logistics operations in Iraq on Aug. 7, 2009. The awards ceremony marks the final stretch of their deployment, as the unit is scheduled to redeploy to Fort Hood next month.

“We understand the sacrifices that all the Soldiers of the 13th ESC have made during this rotation,” Canada said. “We’ve accomplished some great things in helping the Iraqi nation rebuild.”

During the course of the 13th ESC’s deployment, the unit managed the retrograde of more than $1.4 billion worth of supplies and equipment out of the Iraq theater, said Warrant Officer Michael Atkins, a mobile redistribution team leader with the 13th ESC, and a Wooster, Ohio, native.

“Really look inside yourself, and remember why we serve, and why we do the things we do,” Wentz said. “No matter how small you think your part was, you made a difference here. My hat’s off to each and every one of you. Thanks so much for what you’ve done.”

 

news photo
Master Sgt. Michael Bair, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of chaplain assistants with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Fredericksburg, Va., native, receives a congratulatory handshake from Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th ESC, and a Mansfield, Ohio, native, during an awards ceremony June 14 in the East Circuit Gym at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Bair received a Bronze Star Medal for his work in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Rich Barkemeyer)

news photo
Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Mansfield, Ohio, native, addresses Soldiers with the 13th ESC during an awards ceremony June 14 in the East Circuit Gym at Joint Base Balad, Iraq (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Rich Barkemeyer)