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NEWS | Sept. 7, 2021

‘Brickyard’ Soldiers case colors after nine-month Kuwait deployment

By Staff Sgt. Neil McCabe 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command

The “Brickyard” Soldiers of the Army Reserve’s Indianapolis-based 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), who deployed here to staff 1st Theater Sustainment Command’s operational command post, transferred authority to the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at an Aug. 28 ceremony at the camp.

Before beginning his opening remarks, Maj. Gen. Michel M. Russell Sr., the 1st TSC commanding general, who previously served as a brigade commander in Afghanistan, asked everyone attending to stand for a moment of silence for the fallen warriors killed in the bombing and firefight at Kabul’s Harmed Karzai International Airport.

“We cannot forget that we are forward deployed in an AOR that is not benign,” he said.

The 1st TSC handles all logistics in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

“We are here for two reasons—one is to thank the 310th ESC and to acknowledge some of their accomplishments and second is to welcome the 3rd ESC and let them know we anticipate even greater accomplishments for the next nine months,” Russell said in his remarks at the ceremony..

“General Justin Swanson and Command Sgt. Maj. Keith Gwin led this formation in the most stellar manner,” he continued. “Swanson used his skills to lead his team in an unrivaled level of professionalism—that I have seen every day, since I took command, and even before—[with] discipline and commitment to excellence at a level at which even I—who’s been around for a while—am in awe of.

“The 310th and the 3rd both epitomize what it means to bring your A-game, every day, every week and every month—for nine months,” the general continued.

Russell said the ESC mission is complicated.

“The ESC mission is not an easy one,” he said. “You will have to be agile, innovative and absolutely persistent.”

Both units are legacies of logistical commands created in the early years of the Cold War, with the 310th’s antecedents focused on the defense of Western Europe and the 3rd’s antecedents focused on America’s interests in Asia, including eight campaigns in the Korean War.

At the ceremony, Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Justin M. Swanson, the 310th ESC commanding general, and Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Keith A. Gwin, the command’s senior enlisted advisor, cased the command’s colors marking the end of their nine-month mission here.

In his own address to the attendees, which in addition to Soldiers from both commands and Russell, included Australian Maj. Gen. Christopher Field, the U.S. Army Central Command deputy commanding general; Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen P. Snelson, the U.S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center director; Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Jonathan C. Moyer, the 335th Signal Command (Theater Provisional) commanding general; and Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Darrin E. Slaten, the military advisor to the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, Swanson recounted the 310th’s accomplishments.

“It is a privilege to stand before you today to mark this transfer of authority between two extraordinary units,” said the general, who first served as an enlisted combat medic in the Louisiana National Guard.

“As the 310th completes its chapter in the long line of successful units performing the 1st Theater Sustainment Command’s operational command post, and welcomes the 3rd ESC as they embark on their journey at the same time—I have no doubt they will be successful during their time here.”

The husband and father of two daughters said the command held its first collective training after receiving notification of this mobilization in March 2020. It would be the last in-person training until the two-week annual training at 1st TSC’s main command post and headquarters at Fort Knox, Kentucky, at the end of that summer, because of Defense Department-directed mitigations for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Virtual training and collaboration were our lifeline. It taught us how to build relationships and very strong ones,” he said. “Through the challenges, we have found we have grown resilient.”

During the preceding nine months in theater, the general said, the 310th was critical to supporting three named operations in the CENTCOM AOR, Enduring Freedom (Spartan Shield), Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.

In addition to those missions, the Brickyard Soldiers oversaw the retrograde of military and civilian personnel and thousands of pieces of equipment from Afghanistan, the transfer of more than $500 million of military equipment and weapons to Iraqi security forces and the closing and reopening of Camp As Saliyah, Qatar, he said.

“To the friends and families of every Soldier with the 310th and the 3rd ESC, I appreciate each and every one of you and the sacrifices you made every day for the continuing and daily support of our Soldiers,” Swanson said. “They played an integral part in the success of our deployment and for that I—no, no—we are eternally grateful.”

Just as Swanson and Gwin closed out their deployment by casing their colors, there was an equal and opposite action, when Brig. Gen. Lance G. Curtis, the 3rd ESC commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Phelica M. Redd, the command’s senior enlisted advisor, uncased their unit’s colors symbolically beginning their own assumption of the 1st TSC-OCP mission.

Curtis, a native of Warrenburg, Missouri, told the military and civilian guests that he appreciated Swanson’s generosity and consideration during the transfer of authority process, along with the cooperation of the 310th Soldiers.

Turning to the 1st TSC commanding general, Curtis said: “General Russell, sir, our ESC looks forward to being part of the First Team, and we are fully prepared to support operations in the CENTCOM AOR—and it is a privilege to be on the Black Jack team.”