CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT –
The 17th Sustainment Brigade, 451st Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), 1st Sustainment Command (Theater), has completed its nine-month deployment in the Middle East with a ceremony transferring authority to the New York National Guard’s 369th Sustainment Brigade on October 26, 2016.
Based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, the 17SB was the first National Guard unit to complete the mission, which Maj. Gen. Paul C. Hurley, commander of 1st TSC, has described as the “most difficult sustainment mission” in the Army.
The 17SB’s responsibilities included providing supplies and services in over six countries throughout CENTCOM. Its most high profile mission was providing over $500 million worth of weapons, supplies, and vehicles to allied forces in Iraq through the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF). Iraqi forces used these ITEF supplies earlier this year to liberate Fallujah from ISIL control and they are currently using ITEF munitions and supplies in the battle against ISIL in Mosul.
“What sustainment brigades do on a day-to-day basis is vital to protect the U.S. national interests in the Middle East,” said Brig. Gen. Bruce E. Hackett, 451st ESC commander. “You, the Soldiers of the 17th, by keeping an eye on missions throughout CENTCOM have helped ensure our coalition forces are ready to rapidly defeat any threat that may arise in this constantly changing environment, and you’ve done an excellent job.”
In all, 17SB Soldiers tracked over 2,000 missions, transported over $200 million worth of ammunition weighing over 1.5 million pounds, processed over 3 million pounds of mail, and delivered over 2 million bottles of water.
“To the ‘Battle Born’ team, your performance throughout our rotation was simply magnificent, and I could not be more proud of you,” said Col. Vernon L. Scarbrough, 17SB commander. “My initial pre-mission reservations and trepidations about our readiness for this mission were quickly dispelled.
“From that moment on, I knew without doubt, that we would be successful because of you technical competency, enthusiasm, and dedication to the mission as professional logisticians.”
Scarbrough praised his team for their work expanding logistical operations in Iraq, transitioning dozens of units underneath the 17SB’s command, and rotating thousands of personnel and pieces of equipment in and out of theater.
“Every Soldier in this room today has, in some way or fashion, made sacrifices for their deployment,” said Scarbrough. “Our families have also made sacrifices in order for us to deploy.
“Yet, no matter the difficulties, the team stayed focused on the mission without fail. I applaud you all here today, and your loved ones back home, for your persistence, dedication, and commitment to keeping it all together, on the home front and here on the mission.”
During the deployment, 17SB Soldiers earned 12 Bronze Star Medals (BSM), over 70 Meritorious Service Medals, the non-combat equivalent of the BSM, and over 100 Army Commendation Medals. It was the largest Nevada National Guard deployment since the 422nd Expeditionary Signal Brigade’s 2011 deployment to Afghanistan.
In the coming days, the 17SB will go to Texas to complete its demobilization requirements before returning to Las Vegas and Reno. When its Soldiers return, their commander has given them one last mission to complete.
“Last January, 60 percent of the Battle Born team were first time deployers,” said Scarbrough. “Now you stand here today as veterans.
“You have stepped up and answered the call. So, you have a story to tell, and it’s a very important one. I challenge you to make the effort and tell your story.
“Tell them why it mattered. It’s the ‘why’ that will help them understand who we are and what we are about as brothers and sisters in the most noble of professions — the profession of arms.”