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Springfield-based Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 232nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, was recently named a runner-up in the Chief of Staff Army Deployment Excellence Award, large deploying unit category.
The 2020 award recognized the battalion’s outstanding staff and unit level work to deploy units across multiple countries in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.
“Being selected the DEA Large Deploying Unit Runner-up means a lot to the lineage of the unit and the Soldiers who put in all the hard work and sweat that went into us being selected for this. The unit was evaluated on their ability to plan and execute a deployment mission,” said Lt. Col. Sean Welker, of Pawnee, Illinois, who was the 232nd CSSB’s commander during the deployment. “Our deployment mission from Camp Taji, Iraq to Kuwait was extremely challenging as we had a large enduring footprint at that location. As the senior logistics unit on ground, we were looked up to for our expertise in assisting other units and the base closure team in the closeout of Camp Taji. Because of these two factors, it took an immense amount of work and diligence from the unit to pull off, so it is nice for those efforts to be rewarded in this way.”
During the 232nd CSSB’s deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the unit supported three major operations in seven countries in the middle of a world-wide pandemic.
“Brig. Gen. Dianne Del Rosso, First Theater Sustainment Command (1st TSC) Deputy Commanding General, labeled the 232 as the ‘Springboard Battalion’ within the TSC for its ability to ‘spring’ into all three operations mid-retrograde to meet emerging requirements placed on the TSC,” said Welker.
Welker said the 232nd hit the ground running when they arrived in Iraq after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the unit’s deployment departure.
“The key to the HHC’s success was our ability to create a thorough detailed plan and then execute the plan we put together,” said Welker. “We had to remain flexible so we could absorb multiple last minute changes we knew would happen. Leading up to our deployment from Camp Taji, there was a lot of unknown and uncertainty that made thorough planning a challenge.”
Welker said the unit had to maintain a degree of patience as well in order to be successful.
“We knew we only had one shot at completing this mission and we didn’t want to rush to failure, so patience was key to not rush into mistakes, and we knew information flow would be slow based on all the levels of command involved in the closure,” he said.
Welker said the staff also developed plans that offered the commander flexibility but remained in compliance with Iraq’s movement restraints and COVID-19 operational restrictions.
“Rarely do units execute the plan they develop, as it usually goes out the window from the start,” he said. “I truly believe the HHC executed their plan as intended about as close as you can get, especially for the amount of adversity they faced. That in itself is a testament to each and every Soldier assigned to the unit.”