War on Terrorism

Thursday, July 10, 2014

17th CSSB takes on Afghanistan mission

by Army Capt. Richard Packer
2d Engineer Brigade PAO

7/10/2014 - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- Soldiers of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson-based 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion took the mission of the Central Command Material Recovery Element CSSB from the 1103rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of the Alabama National Guard during a transfer of authority ceremony, July 1.

The CMRE mission focuses on the return of military equipment from the battlefield in Afghanistan back to the U.S. and American forces around the world. The 17th CSSB will help sort, track and transport equipment as the logistical arm of CMRE.

Army Lt. Col. Brian Formy-Duval and Command Sgt. Maj. Jacqueline Williams, the command team of 17th CSSB, uncased the unit colors. This is the final step in a military tradition, which recognizes the unit's move from home station to being operational on the battlefield.

"As we take over this historical mission called CMRE, we understand that we are one of many storied units who will write the last chapter of our nation's war against terrorism in Afghanistan," Formy-Duval told the audience. "These next few months will be defining moments. How we depart Afghanistan will be the yardstick of how the war in Afghanistan will be measured for years to come."

"Do not let previous deployments guide your perceptions of the current operating environment," said Army Col. Gregory Boyd, the CMRE commander. "As you have already seen in your short time here, conditions change every day."

Boyd referred to the complex challenges facing CMRE as they carry out the downsizing of International Security Assistance Force's footprint in Afghanistan. The 17th CSSB will be helping to manage a steady, responsible drawdown of personnel and equipment as America prepares to transition from Operation Enduring Freedom to the next phase of our nation's commitment in the region, Resolute Support.

For many of the 17th CSSB Soldiers, this is their first deployment. For others, deployment has become a way of life.

"This is my sixth deployment," said Army Staff Sgt. Sean Ryan, a 17th CSSB platoon sergeant from Port Deposit, Md. "I volunteered to come with this unit to Afghanistan. I love being here and what I do."

After the ceremony, the 17th CSSB's officers and senior noncommissioned officers received a brief from their commanding general, Army Brig. Gen. Donnie Walker of the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

"You've uncased your colors. It's time to rock and roll. Get after this mission," Walker said after sharing his command philosophy. "You are empowered. Now go out there and execute violently."

The 17th CSSB is expected to return to their families and friends in Alaska early next year.

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