10th STB, on order, rapidly deploys world-wide to provide command and control and combat logistics and support to organic, assigned, and attached units of the Sustainment Brigade
"Sustain the Climb!"
The 10th Special Troops Battalion was activated on 16 September 2004 as the 10th Support Brigade Troops Battalion under the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Department of the Army's transformation Directive. The unit became a subordinate Battalion under the 10th Sustainment Brigade.
The Soldiers of the recently stood-up 10th Sustainment Brigade Troops Battalion received the alert in May 2005 that they would deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VII in February 2006. The official deployment order was received in July 2005. Directed by Battalion Commander LTC Eric J. Hesse, the planning and preparation for the deployment began with a Pre-Deployment Site Survey (PDSS) visit to Afghanistan in August 2005 by CSM Brian Connie and the Battalion S3, MAJ Herman Kirsch. The purpose of the visit was to establish the requirements for the mission as well as equipment that the 10th SBTB would fall in on to use for the deployment.
In September 2005, the battalion executed the Convoy Life Fire Exercise (CLFX) that effectively trained over 300 Soldiers in a ten day time period on the vast training areas of Fort Drum on the various combat situations they could face while in Afghanistan. Special attention was focused on reacting to IEDs, reacting to direct fire, actions on halts, and overall convoy command and control techniques. In addition to their combat skills, Soldiers trained to maintain proficiency on their MOS skills through Sergeant’s Time Training and normal day-to-day operations.
Starting in late September through October, Theater Specific Individual Readiness Training (TSIRT) was conducted by the 10th Mountain Division to reinforce basic Soldier skills. TSIRT was a full week, with three days of lane training, where Soldiers had to qualify on their assigned weapon, demonstrate proficiency on all weapons systems from the MK-19 grenade launcher to the M249 SAW, conduct mounted and dismounted land navigation, CBRN protective procedures, call for fire, 9-line MEDEVAC, and dismounted reaction to IEDs and UXOs.
The remaining days were used to educate Soldiers on the customs and culture of the various tribes of Afghanistan, basic language training, modern enemy TTPs, IED and land-mine awareness briefs, and preparing Soldiers mentally and physically for the rigors of deployment. Extra steps were taken to educate Soldiers about preparing their families for their year-long absence.
The advance party of key leaders from the battalion left for Afghanistan on 29 January 2006 to begin the transition process as they prepared to assume the vital mission of tracking and coordinating the movement of supplies, equipment, and personnel which flow throughout the region.
As a part of Task Force Muleskinner and the Joint Logistics Command, the 10th SBTB Soldiers became the 10th Logistics Task Force. Not long after setting up shop in Afghanistan, CSM Donald J. Freeman took the reigns from CSM Brian Connie as the LTF and 10th SBTB Command Sergeant Major. The Soldiers of the 10th LTF quickly worked past the learning curve associated with taking over a mission in a combat zone and raised the bar for combat service support.
Soldiers from HHD and the 699th formed six Add-on-Armor (AoA) teams that were tasked to install over 600 armor enhancement kits to Army vehicles. These teams were deployed forward to numerous locations in order to improve force protection and install the up-armored enhancements on combat vehicles. The LTF enhancement teams played a critical role in protecting Coalition forces Soldiers, including the LTF Convoy team themselves, from the threat of IEDs and direct fire engagements.
The 102nd QM, led by CPT Joshua Lunsford and SFC Jimmy Porterfield, was responsible for the distribution of all fuel and all fuel system supply-point components delivered to 74 forward operating bases and Provisional Reconstruction Teams (PRT) throughout Afghanistan. The 102nd accounted for over 180 million gallons of fuel deliveries to, from and within Bagram and all cash sales of fuel issued to contractors and coalition forces which amounted to over $1.3 million within the year. The unit also directly supported fuel system supply points at Mazar-e-Sharif (MES), Jalalabad, and base operations in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.
The Signal Company was the embodiment of selfless service while deployed to Afghanistan. CPT Tony Lecce handed the company guidon to his successor, CPT Devon Callahan in June 2006, and 1SG Elston Steele turned over his responsibilities to 1SG Kevin Nauman a few weeks later. Under their new leadership, the Signal Company provided continuous communications support to U.S. and Coalition forces across the country. A team was based out of Mazar-e-Sharif and supported the U.S. Forward Logistics Element in Northern Afghanistan. Signal Company Soldiers supported the 27th Engineer Battalion at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, the 91st Military Police Battalion at Salerno, and several units operating out of Tarin Kowt and under the leadership of 1LT Ryan Caldwell.
Signal Company Soldiers also worked alongside the New Zealanders in Camp Bamian, the British at Camp Bastion, and Special Operations Forces at Forward Operating Base Price. The Signal Soldiers installed telecommunications wiring in Sharana, connecting 120 computers to the network in a period of two weeks. When not conducting signal missions , the Soldiers rose to the challenge of manning several guard towers on Bagram Airfield 24 hours a day, providing security and protection for the main operating base in Afghanistan. Overall, the Signal Company provided critical telecommunication services to ensure unit commanders had round-the-clock communication and situational awareness vital to conducting operations in this austere environment that is roughly the size of Texas. Supported units praised the Signal Company for their expertise and knowledge in setting up and maintaining their Command Post Node (CPN), Joint Network Node (JNN), and Traffic Terminal Teams.
The Medical Company from the 10th SBTB provided the level I and II medical support mission under the operational control of Task Force MED throughout the Combined Joint Operational Area of Afghanistan. Commanded by CPT Johnny Dennis and 1SG Timothy Sprunger, the Archangel Medics were supporting operations at Kandahar Airfield; Camp Eggers, Kabul; Salerno; Forward Operating Base Ghazni; and Forward Operating Base Nor-ray as well as supporting operations at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. At Bagram, the Medical Company provided ground evacuation assets led by SSG Hunt, combat stress control, preventive medicine, and primary care physicians and ancillary services (optometry, X-ray, MEDLOG, Lab, Pharmacy) to support TF MED. The Medical Company conducted over 500 separate evacuation missions for 1100 separate casualties. The Combat Stress Control Team treated nearly 5,500 Coalition Soldiers during the deployment. The team traveled to provide direct care at Forward Operating Bases throughout the CJOA.
CPT Scott Vial and the Preventive Medicine (PM) Team served as advisors to several Commanders charged with operating in remote Forward Operating Bases. The PM team would routinely travel to these remote locations to conduct thorough Base Camp Assessments to help commanders maintain the readiness of forward deployed Soldiers. At Camp Eggers in Kabul, the 1LT Carmina Overton operated a fully-functional Level I Medical Treatment Facility. This facility supported and maintained the readiness of 1,500 Coalition Soldiers, DOD Civilians, and contractors throughout the deployment.
This team also took on the task of training Coalition and Afghan National Army Soldiers in Emergency Medical Technician and Combat Life-Saver training. At Kandahar Airfield, the 10th LTF Medical Company provided the Level I medical support package that augmented the Canadian Multi-National Role III Hospital providing vital out-patient medical care. This team successfully negotiated through 35 separate Mass Casualty events during the deployment. In addition to these responsibilities, 1LT Craig Wallace and other Physician’s Assistants provided medical assets to ten Village Medical Operations and MEDCAP missions, often operating in austere and dangerous environments. The Medical Company also provided two medical treatment teams to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division operating at various Forward Operating Bases throughout the CJOA.
The 10th LTF Forward Logistical Element (FLE) supported over 1,200 Jordanian Soldiers and ISAF forces at the Jordanian Hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif (MES) with nearly half a billion gallons of fuel, over 80,000 pallets of water, and life-saving medical supplies and equipment. The hospital was able to maintain an average daily patient count of over 1,050 because of the support provided by the 10th LTF FLE. The FLE also provided Food Service Specialists who provided and prepared the Class I to sustain the Coalition Forces working in the hospital. The LTF
FLE supervised and implemented a joint training plan with the Jordanian Special Forces and International Security Armed Forces ensuring that Quick Reaction Force and airfield security procedures were properly executed in the event of an attack. The LTF FLE Soldiers distributed over 30,000 gallons of aviation fuel per month, and developed and implemented a communications network for the Afghan Air Control Tower. The LTF FLE executed and led four Jordanian Relief-in-Place missions for Jordanian soldiers and 48 tons of equipment. The LTF FLE developed and resourced a camp layout that included administrative offices, billeting area, mail room, MWR building, physical fitness facilities, maintenance bay, and a power grid and camp force protection layout. The MeS FLE accomplished this unmatched support effort despite operating with only 14 Soldiers, superbly led by SFC Peter Hill.
The 10th LTF also took on the responsibility of receiving, storing, and issuing all the ammunition for US forces in Afghanistan. Every bullet, flare, grenade, mortar, and artillery round came through 1LT Mike Hannah and SFC Joel Hernandez’s 664th Ordnance Platoon’s ASP at Bagram and Kandahar before being issued to the requesting unit. The 664th handled over 400 Short Tons of ammunition valued at over $176 million during the year.
All units within the 10th LTF, to include Soldiers from HHC, JLC and the Medical Company, contributed Soldiers to the task of running convoy operations throughout the CJOA. Dubbed “Team Marauder”, this meant convoying through the most dangerous areas in the country, carrying critical supplies, on small dirt trails that offered little protection and little room for error. CPT Mike Dolge, 699th Commander, volunteered to lead the team, and twice the convoy was attacked and the Soldiers reacted as trained, calling in deadly accurate Close Air Support that left the enemy running for cover.
The 699th Direct Support Maintenance Company, Ft. Irwin, CA ran an armament shop where CW3 Steven Edwards and CW2 Jeff Sicard’s Soldiers repaired weapons systems, a Communications and Electronics (COMMEL) shop where radios and night vision goggles were repaired, an Supply Support Activity (SSA) where every item in the Army Supply System that comes into Bagram is received and processed, and an Engineer Maintenance Support Team in Sharana, led by 1LT Jacqlyn Withrow, that provided full Direct Support assets to the 37th Engineer Brigade, completing over 500 DS Work Orders. The SSA processed over 400,000 requests during the rotation, while the COMMEL shop played a critical role in the success of Reconstitution, an operation that inspected and repaired 15 Task Forces’ worth of combat equipment. Commander Mike Dolge and 1SG Dagoberto Ramirez’s Soldiers were critical to the success of the 10th LTF mission.
The 10th LTF spearheaded what became known as Task Force Retrograde. Led by MAJ Robert Harding, CPT Alfred Hunte, and MSG Gerald Gardner, the Task Force traveled throughout Afghanistan to numerous FOBs to assist units in properly accounting for US property. They also identify government and carrier-owned containers, and then contact the owning units to come gather any equipment from the containers they wish to keep. The US government pays a retaining fee to keep the containers in use, and one of the goals of TF Retrograde is to ensure no containers are sitting empty or unused. They also recover unused or surplus items for consolidation and redistribution to other units, saving time and money getting mission essential equipment to the war-fighters. Their combined efforts have provided a savings to the U.S. Government of over $10 million dollars.
The Aerial Delivery Section, consisting of elements of the 264th QM Co and 647th QM Co out of Ft. Bragg and Ft. Campbell was responsible for the aerial delivery of all supplies in Afghanistan throughout the entire year. Under the leadership of CW2 Joshua Hughes and SFC Tommy Selmon, the Riggers established new standards of aerial re-supply capabilities, providing 2,297 bundles and over of 3,504,073 LBS of supplies via aerial delivery. Not only did they prepare and deliver critical supplies like food, ammunition, and fuel to the front-line troops; they delivered humanitarian aid and winter survival bundles for the people of Afghanistan.
The Soldiers of the 10th LTF fulfilled the old adage of supplying “everything from beans to bullets”, except in today’s modern Army, the technical aspects of the support provided has grown exponentially. The 10th LTF worked with the most modern war-fighting and logistical systems and equipment to ensure a rapid, efficient flow of all classes of Army supply into theater and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Without a doubt, the 10th LTF “will never say no!” Sustain the Climb!