CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait –
Dec. 21 was unusually warm, both in temperature and in the hearts of many as the 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion returned home from its deployment to Kuwait. This marks the first time since 2003 that all Connecticut National Guard units are home, although two Army Guard and 15 Air Guardsmen are individually deployed with units from other states.
The 143rd CSSB’s journey began Feb. 19, when 67 Soldiers said goodbye to their families at the Army Air Support Facility in Windsor Locks, Conn. The unit’s endeavor started off with the pre-mobilization process in Fort Hood, Texas and continued when it arrived at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on March 26.
Since getting boots on ground, the 143rd CSSB has been hard at work running 24 hour operations in the tactical operations center, managing warehouses and yards throughout Camp Arifjan, running quarterly missions and providing logistical support to subordinate units.
The 143rd CSSB Operations Section (S-3), run by Capt. David Tripp and Master Sgt. David Schappa, successfully managed the unit’s tactical operations center 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout nine months in country. The S-3 was also responsible for distributing and analyzing information and submitting recommendations to the commander,
1st Lt. Douglas Jackson was tasked with running the current operations section of the S-3 which was in charge of receiving action reports and Red Cross messages, as well as tracking missions run by the battalion’s truck company. 1st Lt. Kevin Bahr led the future operations sections, which was responsible for receiving and publishing fragmentary orders and processing out of country packets.
The S-3 section also initiated numerous key leader engagements with the Kuwait National Guard allowing the 143rd to gain more cultural awareness and build foreign relationships.
The 143rd’s W7A Warehouse team led by Capt. Lee Anne Thompson and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Gene Daily spent the last nine months downsizing the warehouse and numerous yards. The downsizing aided the closure of Zone 7 at Camp Arifjan. The warehouse team was also responsible for processing high priority requests and directly supporting the majority of supply activity going in and out of Afghanistan.
When Daily took over the warehouse in April, it contained around 21,000 lines of items and supplies totaling approximately $223,000,000. Since then, he has gotten the number of lines down to 13,959 costing approximately $92,280,571, meaning the warehouse team has been able to get 7,041 lines out of country.
The battalion supply section (S-4), of Capt. Michael Lackey, Master Sgt. Thomas Curry, Sgt. 1st Class Katie Zarzycka and Spc. Michelle Ortiz-Soto, was responsible for managing and tracking supply and sustainment operations to include the organizational and non-tactical vehicle fleet, executing the Command and Supply Discipline Program (CSDP), providing logistical support to subordinate units, and advising the commander on all logistical matters.
Zaryzcka turned in approximately $6,500,000 worth of equipment. By doing so, Zarzycka decreased the CSSB footprint and gave other units throughout the Army an opportunity to acquire equipment they need to complete their assigned missions.
Curry, the battalion maintenance officer, was responsible for managing the CSSB fleet which has a total dollar value of approximately $33,000,000. Curry tracked approximately 600 parts throughout the mission and played a major role in assisting the subordinate units in maintaining a high operation readiness rate.
The 143rd’s Support Operations (SPO) Transportation Section, with the help of the battalion truck company, has successfully completed 553 missions, using 2,733 trucks driving a total of 668,622 miles with 9,641 pieces of cargo.
The SPO Trans was able to organize and conduct four quarterly missions while in country. During the quarterly missions, the truck company and more than 200 contractor flatbeds transported 570 20-foot containers full of cargo
Aside from the usual missions, SPO Trans was tasked with assisting the Air Force Central Command to move 55 containers from Kuwait National Base to Al Jabber.
Over the past nine months, the Soldiers of the 143rd have been challenged and pushed to their limits, but one thing never left their minds: accomplishing the mission. The 143rd handed over the reins to their replacements, the 751st CSSB from South Carolina.