War on Terrorism

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mississippi National Guard unit’s first 100 days: a story of sustainment

By Lt. Col. David F. Jolly
Joint Sustainment Command – Afghanistan

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (1-24-11) – What organization’s finance office processes an average of $181 million per month and on a daily basis is responsible for feeding more than 100,000 personnel?

Their contracted vehicles travel an average of 23,570 miles per day and their contracted aircraft fly an average of 23,700 passengers monthly.

Is this a Fortune 500 company?

No, it’s the Mississippi National Guard’s 184th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and its subordinate units.

The 184th ESC assumed responsibility for all sustainment operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Oct. 17, when the 135th ESC, an Alabama Army National Guard unit, passed the baton and returned to the United States.

Since that time, the 184th ESC and its subordinate units have continued to provide support for all coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Today, the Army National Guard unit from Laurel and Hattiesburg, Miss., marked its 100th day as the headquarters element for Joint Sustainment Command-Afghanistan (JSC-A).

The U.S. Army’s Field Manual 4-0 defines sustainment as “the provision of logistics, personnel services, and health services support necessary to maintain operations until mission accomplishment.”

“The logistics fight in Afghanistan is without a doubt the most challenging job we’ve ever been tasked with,” said Col. Craig M. Weaver, JSC-A support operations officer. “‘Afghanistan is not Iraq’ is an understatement.

“The dynamics of an ever-changing battlefield, limited lines of communications and the lack of a staging base, such as Kuwait, requires a support operations staff that must quickly assess the situation and make sound decisions to ensure uninterrupted sustainment flow.

“Our strong staff relationships with our strategic partners – 1st Theater Support Command, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan; 101st and 43rd Sustainment Brigades; 401st Army Field Sustainment Brigade; 313th Joint Movement Control Battalion; 145th Theater Transportation Opening Element and the 643rd Regional Support Group – have ensured warfighters have what they need to conduct combat operations and defeat the insurgents on the battlefield.”

In the first 100 days, JSC-A and its subordinate units have met the challenge.

Their leadership reports facilitating or accomplishing the following missions, which gives a small snapshot of the magnitude of sustainment operations:

• Supported more than 100,000 servicemembers and civilians on a daily basis –
more than the combined populations of Hattiesburg and Biloxi, Miss.
• Reviewed and approved $1.2 billion in military contracts.
• Processed an average of $181 million in finance transactions per month.
• Delivered more than 126 million gallons of fuel, which would fill 7.8 million passenger cars.
• Provided 25.6 million meals, which would feed the population of Texas.
• Distributed 7.6 million pounds of ammunition,
• Delivered more than 17 million pounds of mail, which would cover eight football fields stacked six feet high.
• Flew an average of 23,700 passengers monthly by contracted aircraft.
• Amassed 2.4 million miles by contracted host-nation trucks, the equivalent of driving around the world 95 times.
• Managed more than 19,000 bed spaces on a daily basis.
• Airdropped 5,400 bundles of critical supplies to remote combat bases.
• Provided 1,925 legal services for servicemembers.
• Conducted 1,848 combat logistics patrols.

"All servicemembers involved in the operational sustainment of logistics continue to perform above expectations in this difficult and austere environment,” said Brig. Gen. Philip R. Fisher, JSC-A commanding general.

“Their efforts are greatly appreciated by all in the Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan, and their families can take great pride in their service.

“The work they do here is critical to mission success.”

No comments: