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Making the transition

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Pete Mayes and Spc. Sarah Keegan
101st Sustainment Brigade

101st Sustainment Brigade - LifelinersFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionBagram Airfield, Afghanistan – One battalion commander marked the beginning of year-his unit’s long deployment to Afghanistan while another finally prepared to bring team home.

Lt. Col. Jose Solis marked the beginning of his command Thursday as the 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion conducted their Relief in Place Transfer of Authority ceremony in Afghanistan at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center clamshell.

Lt. Col. Leslie Caballero, commander of the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, and her unit are preparing to head home to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, following their year-long deployment to Afghanistan. The battalion was assigned to the 101st Sustainment Brigade, Fort Campbell, KY. (Army photo by Spc. Jens Vadelund)

Lt. Col. Leslie Caballero, commander of the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, and her unit are preparing to head home to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, following their year-long deployment to Afghanistan. The battalion was assigned to the 101st Sustainment Brigade, Fort Campbell, KY. (Army photo by Spc. Jens Vadelund)

Uncasing the Battalion colors, Solis and his battalion command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Dolishia King, completed the RIPTOA with the 17th combat Sustainment Support Battalion. The battalion, based out of Fort Bliss, TX, will be assigned to the 101st Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Campbell, KY, during their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Solis, an officer in the Quartermaster Branch, took command of the 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in January of 2010. He said his initial plan is to follow the 17th CSSB’s footsteps. “We want to look at the areas that we can improve while looking out for the soldiers and the mission,” he said.

Solis described the transition between the two battalions as “very smooth and professional,” saying that establishing an early relationship with 17th CSSB commander Lt. Col. Leslie Caballero was crucial.

“The relationship we started many months ago paid off. We had a team here that was already part of the mission, and they provided us with many notes which we used to develop our plan,” Solis said.

As for Caballero, her team’s journey has come to an end.

The 17th CSSB came to Afghanistan this past June during the surge, arriving at the peak of the fighting season. During their time, they’ve moved plenty of cargo across Regional Commands East, North, and Capitol, as well as helped push out tons of mail to soldiers across Afghanistan.

Because of the surge, mail became one of those positive things that had to happen, she said. “It was part of maintaining Soldier morale. So we played a big part in that throughout the holiday season, making a big difference to those soldiers out on the outer Forward Operating Bases.”

Caballero described the 17th CSSB as a multi-component “Pickup team,” one that was comprised of Active Duty, National Guard, and Reservists, that were put together and grown as they conducted the mission.

“It is a very complex organization on top of a complex environment. Overall, a very rewarding but tough tour,” she said.

At the end of the day, Caballero said, with all of those accomplishments, the mission is still about the soldier.

“Every soldier that comes here wants to do their best. And with that, I am confident that (Solis’) team will do that because it is the individual Soldier at the end of the day that makes the difference.”

Solis said he wants the 142nd CSSB to set the standard for all Combat Sustainment Support Battalions during their deployment in Afghanistan.

“We need to find a way to establish a positive relationship with the Afghan people. That’s going to be key for us. Internally, I just want to ensure that my Soldiers are trained, that they’re safe, that they’re taking care of each other, take advantage of the educational opportunities here, and keep in contact with their families,” he said.

( Editor’s Note: Spc. Keegan is the 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Unit Public Affairs Representative. The battalion, part of the 15th Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Bliss, TX, is assigned to the 101st Sustainment Brigade, Fort Campbell, KY, during their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. )


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