Living
Mission Melting Pot: combat sustainment in today's plug and play Army
By Sgt. Aaron LeBlanc, 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade
Oct 22, 2008 - 11:38:22 AM


Blackanthem Military News
( From left to right) Spc. Travis Kinsey of Provo, Utah and Spc. Tim Fure of Little Falls, Minn. finalize the replacement of a support beam on the rear-end of an M-1088, or medium tactical vehicle tractor truck, at the 536th's Automotive Base. Maintenance is just one of the many pieces of the 165th's diverse mission. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron LeBlanc, 165th Combat Sust. Spt. Bn. UPAR)
TAJI, Iraq - The 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion is currently managing a dynamic mission that ranges from class one supply delivery, to the movement of bulk fuel, to the administration of the premier maintenance operation on Camp Taji, Iraq. This diversity of mission is made possible through the Army's "plug and play" philosophy that has gained wide acceptance as it continues to increase the flexibility and utility of military forces.

This 165th's flexibility is reflected by its designation as a CSSB; the unit's former titles include "165th Transportation Battalion," and "165th Quartermaster Battalion."  As late as the mid-90's, battalions like the 165th may have been completely dedicated to a single skill set.  Today, U.S. Army battalions focused entirely on transportation are becoming an anomaly soon to be relegated to the annals of history.

The headquarters element of the 165th, a Louisiana National Guard company from Bossier City, is the only company within the Battalion native to the lineage of the unit.  The remainder of the Battalion, comprised of Army National Guard, Active Duty, and Army Reserve companies of combat arms units, transportation units, and maintenance units, was assembled in country.

Thanks to an Army-wide adherence to training standards and the modular sustainment force structure, this seemingly cobbled together conglomeration of troops, hailing literally from all over the world, functions as a single, seamless, cohesive entity.  In addition to moving every class of supply while providing their own security, the Soldiers of the 165th bear the brunt of the logistics effort that allows Camp Taji to function.

The 165th's 515th Transportation Company, an Active Duty unit from Manheim, Germany was, for over a year, responsible for the delivery of all diesel fuel, MOGAS, and JP8 on Camp Taji, and a good chunk of the same in the surrounding MND-B area.  Every drop of fuel passing through the main generators here got to where it was needed thanks in part to the tireless efforts of the 515th.  As their 15-month tour comes to a close, the Soldiers of the 515th have handed the torch off to the 1538th Transportation Company, an Indiana National Guard unit, which has hit the ground running without missing a beat.

The 165th's 536th Maintenance Company, out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, manages the largest and most comprehensive maintenance operation on the base, and boasts command and control of one of the largest Supply Support Activity warehouse complexes in the country.  If it's broken, the professionals of the 536th can probably fix it; their capabilities include not only vehicle repair, but also small arms and radio equipment repair.

A detachment of the 297th Inland Cargo Transportation Company, also belonging to the 165th, is responsible for the administration of the Camp Taji Central Receiving and Shipping Point, or CRSP, and has received high praise from Brig. Gen Michael Lally, the commanding general of the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command for their organization and efficiency in support of the warfighter.

The 165th's Support Operations section oversees the administration of Camp Taji's Class I yard and bulk fuel farm, and are responsible for focusing the concerted efforts of the Battalion's various transportation and combat arms companies, who together have delivered over 20,000 concrete barriers and an estimated 150,000 STONS of supplies into the heart of Baghdad, and have completed over 10,000 maintenance jobs.

Soldiers pulled from various units within the 165th are spear-heading the effort to turn over U.S. Army Humvees to the Iraqi Army, and have delivered more than 2,000 Humvees since the 165th's arrival in April.

As part of an ongoing push to form a more effective and efficient logistics apparatus, Soldiers from the headquarters element of the Battalion, along with Soldiers of the 536th, are working closely with mechanics of the Iraqi Army, helping them to become better able to maintain their ever-growing fleet of Humvees.

Finally, the 377th Combat HET (heavy equipment transport) Company, and Active Duty unit from Fort Bliss, Texas, are capable of transporting and delivering the Army's largest tracked vehicles, including 80-ton M-1 Abrahams Main Battle Tanks, to wherever they may be needed in the theater of operations.

Thanks to the modular system in today's plug and play Army, all of these capabilities, from heavy equipment transport, to the combat capabilities of the convoy security elements organic to the Battalion, to the ability to deliver vast quantities of any class of supply anywhere in Multi-National Division - Baghdad, coexist under a single guidon: the Battalion colors of the 165th CSSB.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

 
Members of Company G, 1st Battalion, 206th Field Artillery, currently assigned to the 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade engage in a live-fire exercise in Kuwait prior to arriving at Camp Taji. Company G is responsible for providing convoy security elements, commonly referred to as "gun trucks" to convoys organic to the 165th. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)
Spc. Brandon Taffar from Cleveland, Ga. is pictured here providing the generators that light up the power grid of Camp Taji with a steady supply of fuel. Taffar has just completed a 15 month tour of duty in Iraq with the 515th Transportation Company, 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron LeBlanc, 165th Cbt. Sust. Spt. Bn. UPAR)

 
Weston, Colo. native Staff Sgt. Jon Waldron of the 15th Transportation Company, 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade guides a barrier into place at Joint Security Station Ur, a barrier holding yard in Sadr City. Barriers such as this one are being used all over Baghdad to build solid walls of reinforced concrete. The 165th has moved over 20,000 such barriers since their arrival in April. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron LeBlanc, 165th Cbt. Sust. Spt. Bn. UPAR)
Members of the 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, participate in a transfer of authority ceremony held here April 21st, signifying the moment at which the 165th assumed responsibility for the battlespace formerly controlled by the 1103rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron LeBlanc, 165th Cbt. Sust. Spt. Bn. UPAR)

 
A heavy equipment transport (HET) belonging to the 377th Transportation Company, 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade prepares to depart Victory Base Complex on a recent mission to move mine resistant ambush protected vehicles to Camp Taji. The HETs of the 165th make up the heavy-lift capacity of the Battalion, and lend flexibility to the overall capabilities of the unit. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron LeBlanc, 165th Cbt. Sust. Spt. Bn. UPAR)
A shipment of tires is loaded at the Camp Taji Central Receiving and Shipping Point, or CRSP, bound for tactical vehicles in need of fresh rubber. The Taji CRSP is operated by the 297th Transportation Company, 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, and is another example of the diverse mission that is combat sustainment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron LeBlanc, 165th Cbt. Sust. Spt. Bn. UPAR)