Saturday, April 18, 2009

US Army Units Move from Iraq Directly to Afghanistan

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq, April 18, 2009 -- A U.S. Army transportation company here was moved from Iraq to Afghanistan on April 14, marking the second time in three weeks a 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) unit has moved directly from one combat theater to another.

The 154th Transportation Company, an active-component unit from Fort Hood, Texas, was repositioned to southern Afghanistan where it will continue its mission of transporting supplies to Coalition forces, unit leadership said.

Capt. Corinne F. McClellan, the 154th Trans. Co. commander, said the move would not change her unit’s mission – only its location.

“We’ll go wherever we are needed,” McClellan said. “The Soldiers are ready to go.”

Deployed to Iraq in January, the 159 Soldiers of the 154th Trans. Co. operated under the Fort Hood’s 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. While stationed at Camp Liberty, the unit moved supplies to camps across Iraq, although most missions were in or around Baghdad.

1st Sgt. Eric A. Moree, the company’s senior noncommissioned officer, said he is proud of his unit’s performance thus far and believes they are “absolutely” ready to assume their mission in Afghanistan.

“We haven’t lost a vehicle,” Moree said. “We haven’t lost a Soldier. We haven’t lost any cargo. And in doing so, we were able to provide the support to the warfighters that’s needed.”

Moree said the unit will face some challenges, however, and cited the narrow dirt roads and mountainous terrain of southern Afghanistan as two examples.

In preparation for the move, the unit trained on various tasks that could prove useful to the unit’s mission, including weapons training and first-aid training. The unit conducted additional training on vehicles the company will use in Afghanistan.

The unit reorganized itself by creating a “gun truck” platoon – a special convoy security element for its mission in Afghanistan.

“They are fully prepared to execute that mission,” Moree said. “They had months of extensive training prior to even coming to Iraq.”

The 154th Trans. Co. drives the military’s Palletized Load System, a vehicle designed with self-loading capabilities that reduces the need for forklifts and other equipment that may not be readily available in smaller military camps in southern Afghanistan.

According to current Department of Defense policy, the length of the 154th Trans. Co.’s deployment will not be affected by the unit’s move.

(Report from a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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