16th SB uncases colors

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Lynne Lantin
NTM-A/DCOM-SPO Public Affairs

CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan — The 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 16th Sustainment Brigade uncased its colors during a transfer of authority ceremony Nov. 30, symbolizing its official start of operations in Afghanistan.

The brigade, in the process of transitioning to Baumholder from Bamberg, Germany, is the only sustainment brigade that supports all of U. S. Army Europe. It was notified earlier this year by the Department of the Army that its expertise was needed to help the Afghan National Security Forces build and sustain a functional logistics system before the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

Brigade headquarters personnel deployed to augment the Deputy Command of Support Operations, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, taking over mission operations from the 13th Sustainment Command (expeditionary) after a year-long deployment.

“From our notification, our Soldiers were trained and ready to deploy in four months,” said Col. Darren Werner, 16th Sust. Bde. commander. “We are proud to join the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from over 25 different nations contributing to the NTM-A mission — the mission to support the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and generating and sustaining the Afghan National Security Force to develop its leaders and to establish an enduring institutional capacity to enable accountable Afghan-led security.”

Werner takes over as the deputy commander for the DCOM-SPO, NTM-A mission.
Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters, the commander of the 13th ESC and outgoing DCOM-SPO commander, welcomed the 16th Sust. Bde. as he said goodbye to friends and comrades.

“You have a new team member now who is equally committed to the same goals, and those are your goals,” said LeMasters as he addressed his Afghan partners in the audience. “I’ve seen great and many accomplishments in the short time I’ve been in Afghanistan. I ask you to continue that momentum. The logistic support you provide enables your security forces to stand between your people and those who wish to destroy all that you have earned in many years of war.”

Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, the commander of NTM-A and guest speaker at the ceremony, said goodbye to the Soldiers of the 13th ESC, praising them for their accomplishments over the past year. He also welcomed the 16th Sust. Bde. and expressed his confidence that it will continue the mission with great success.

“Today the 16th Sustainment Brigade takes over,” Bolger said. “The 16th motto on their flag is, ‘Logistics: The key to win.’ You’ll see that key right on their unit insignia and it’s partnered with a battleaxe, because sometimes you have to kill some bad guys to get where you need to go. Since it formed, the 16th has both fought and sustained in campaign after campaign to include four deployments to Iraq, and now the 16th is here in Afghanistan. Your mission’s as straight forward as your motto; help the Afghans provide the key and win this thing. That’s why we’re here.”

“Although we case the colors of the 13th Sustainment Command, and uncase the colors of the 16th Sustainment Brigade, this ceremony is not just about those two units,” said LeMasters during his closing speech. “It’s about the incredible teamwork of the entire DCOM-SPO.  It is not just about these Soldiers who stand here today representing these two units. It’s about many nations, many people coming together for a common purpose. And although we wear different uniforms, we work together to accomplish the NTM-A mission every single day.”