Written by Sgt. Leejay Lockhart
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – The 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), held its battalion change of command ceremony May 13th, 2014, on the Fort Campbell, KY, Division Parade Field. During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Thomas M. Gaston Jr. relinquished command of the 129th CSSB to Lt. Col. Able E. Young.
The “Drive the Wedge” battalion is one of the two organic battalions of the U.S. Army’s premier sustainment brigade and is a highly modular unit that has provided troops logistic, sustainment and retrograde support on the battlefields of both Iraq and Afghanistan.“For those who don’t know, ‘The Wedge Team’ provides maintenance, transportation, warehousing, movement control and the newly incorporated fuel and water distribution missions to the 101 Airborne Division and tenant units spread across Fort Campbell,” said Col. Charles R. Hamilton, commander of the 101st Sust. Bde. “In addition, as of last week, they stood up one of the first composite trucks company in the Army making it one of the largest battalions on Fort Campbell.”
During the ceremony, the incoming and outgoing commanders reviewed the battalion’s troop formations. Later in the ceremony, Gaston, a native of Richmond, Texas, passed the battalion colors to Hamilton who then passed them to Young, which symbolized the passing of command responsibility from one commander to the next in front of all of the assembled Soldiers and attendees of the ceremony.
“Exactly 28 months ago today I stood before you proud and excited over the opportunity to serve as your commander,” said Gaston. “… today I’m filled with even more pride as well as humility as I look at each of you on the field today. Thank you for making today so special.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with 28 outstanding company commanders through the execution of 18 change of commands, two inactivations and one activation ceremony,” said Gaston.
During Gaston’s tenure as the commander of the 129th CSSB the battalion inactivated two units, activated the 74th Composite Truck Company, added two Movement Control Teams, trained and deployed four units and redeployed and reset five units.
The most recent redeployed unit was the 227th Quartermaster Company, which redeployed May 4th and provided retrograde support in Afghanistan for nine months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Soldiers from the 129th CSSB also played a key role in a National Training Center Rotation for the 1st Cavalry Division in 2013.
As Young takes command, he is already a familiar face to his new command. Upon his arrival at the brigade, he served as the brigade rear detachment commander for approximately four months before he took command of the 129th CSSB. Young, a native of South Bend, IN, praised the Soldiers, NCOs and officers of the battalion and thanked Gaston for his help during the transition. However, as he ended his speech he quipped to his new troops, “That being said; Let’s get back to work.”
Gaston finished his tour as commander with a final piece of advice to his Soldiers.
“If you remember or have learned anything from me it should be just two things. First is never quit … never quit yourself, your Family, your battle buddy or unit,” said Gaston. “Second is … never forget where you came from, have a solid plan for the road ahead and always be proud of who you’re with!”