39th Trans. Bn. cases colors, prepares to

Story by Angelika Lantz
21st TSC Public Affairs

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 39th Transportation Battalion cased its flag during a ceremony at their motor pool on Kleber Kaserne June 10.

The casing of the unit’s colors is the last official step before the unit of approximately 50 Soldiers deploys to Arifijan, Kuwait, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“For half the formation, it is their first year-long deployment. These are young Americans who volunteered to serve during a time of war, knowing that they would likely deploy,” said Lt. Col. Lee English, battalion commander. “The other half of the formation is made up of those who’ve deployed multiple times – for most, this being their third deployment.”

As a movement control battalion, the 39th Trans. Bn. will synergize with the movement control battalion in Iraq and will have command and control for the theater transportation of all assets within Kuwait and from Kuwait into Iraq.
Lieutenant Colonel English, who took command exactly four weeks earlier, said this means the battalion will be responsible for all equipment, supplies and Soldiers moving into and coming out of Kuwait.

Col. Sharon Duffy, deputy commanding officer at the 21st TSC, reminded the Soldiers that while they could expect to work long hours, they should take pride in being part of such an importation operation.

Lieutenant Colonel English agreed and asked the Soldiers, their families and friends to keep the significance of their mission in mind.

“What sometimes gets lost in the long teary goodbyes is the deep sense of satisfaction, pride and honor derived from knowing that all are about to contribute to something much greater than just themselves – an endeavor that supports the betterment of others while serving our great nation,” he said.

Despite the expected hardship and separations, Lieutenant Colonel English remained positive.

 “The battalion has trained long and hard for this deployment. I have the utmost confidence that we will excel at our future mission. This battalion headquarters is ready, and I have no doubt that the 39th will continue to carry the mission in Kuwait,” he said.

Colonel Duffy was confident as well. While the color casing is the official way to say goodbye, she said she was already looking forward to the Soldiers’ return in 2010.