Written by Spc. Michael Vanpool
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan – The 101st Sustainment Brigade “Lifeliners” awarded more than 120 officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers the Bronze Star Medal for their contributions to the brigade’s mission this past year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, October 9th.
The Bronze Star is awarded to soldiers who demonstrate heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in military operations against an enemy of the United States.
Col. Michael Peterman, the commander of the Lifeliners, said that his formation should always take the opportunity to thank those around them. The Bronze Stars were an extension of the gratitude from a year in Afghanistan.“This deployment, in all its measurements, was done exceptionally well,” Peterman said. “Talk about making a difference at every level.”
The brigade supported 13 combat brigades across northern and eastern Afghanistan during the year by providing logistical support necessary for their missions. They moved equipment and supplies by ground convoys, air transport and aerial delivery.
Peterman said the brigade’s reputation as a sustainment unit expanded beyond Bagram Airfield.
“No one in this theater has worked harder than you. The units that we supported do not know who you are, but they all know your reputation. You are the gold standard of an Army logistics formation,” he said.
The medal was created February 4th, 1944, and as Gen. George Marshall, the first general of the Army, said it would make the maintenance of morale of great importance.
The soldiers who received the Bronze Stars represented about a third of the formation of Lifeliners who deployed this past year. The level of accolades given to this number of Lifeliners is not typical of a headquarters company.
“They were awarded for their responsibility and the effects they had on the theater,” said Maj. Mario Washington, the personnel section officer in charge. “We’ve done outstanding this year, and although it’s not typical, it’s deserved due to the work the people put in.”
The Lifeliners improved the way soldiers are supplied in Afghanistan and even created new programs to better provide and cut costs during their deployment.
“Without me, none of the vehicles, ground or air, would’ve moved,” said Sgt. Grant Feeny, the water and petroleum equipment manager for the brigade. “I literally expanded the capacity and number of fuel points in RC-North and East. Not just for the Americans, but also the Koreans, New Zealanders, Polish and Afghan National Army.”
Feeny also started a pilferage prevention program. The program required a seal on fuel trucks driven by local nationals to ensure that no fuel was taken on the drive from base to base. So far, the program has saved nearly two million dollars in pilferage.
From fuel to bullets to food, the Lifeliners took on the task of supporting the war fighter. Aside from supplying American and coalition forces, they also took on the task of mentoring the logistics kandaks of the Afghan National Army.
Spc. Sterling Beveridge received a Bronze Star for his work as a maintenance mentor for the combined action team of the 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sust. Bde. He worked as a supervisor and adviser for the Afghan mechanics of the 201st Combat Logistics Kandak.
“I made sure they did the training they were supposed to do, and I guided them along the way,” Beveridge said. “Overall, they’re smart and good workers.” Throughout the year, he mentored the Afghan Soldiers through 20 different vehicle maintenance courses and 16 weapons maintenance.
The 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade also awarded the Army Commendation Medal to more than 100 officers, NCOs, and junior enlisted Soldiers at the battalion End of Tour awards ceremony.
Other brigade and battalion Soldiers received the Army Achievement Medal for their participation in organizing the Non-commissioned Officer Induction Ceremony at BAF, and several received the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.