CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait –
The “Sentinel” Soldiers of the Army Reserve’s Lancaster, Pennsylvania, based 1185th Deployment and Distribution Support Battalion cased their unit colors ending their nine-month deployment during a ceremony at the Zone 1 Morale Welfare and Recreation Theater here, Aug 20.
“Today, the 1185th DDSB transfers the operational authority of the Kuwaiti ports to the 1397th DDSB," said Col. Ricardo Sierra Guzman, the commander of the 595th Transportation Brigade (SDDC). This forward-headquartered brigade oversees vessel operations for the Army's Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command in the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
“This is the perfect opportunity to recognize the value of the reserve component—also know as SDDC’s secret sauce,” the colonel said. “Without you, SDDC cannot project power to, in our case, CENTCOM.”
Sierra Guzman said he was proud of the work performed by the 1185th Soldiers.
“1185th, it is time to go home. You have done a tremendous job,” he said.
“During the last nine months, COVID-19 was another reason not to move cargo,” he said. “You made it happen during your tour. You helped move more than 300 vessels with over 250 port calls—you do the math—that’s about one a day.”
The colonel said he wants the Soldiers to return home with a spirit of moderation and pacing.
“When it is time to go, you gotta go. On the way home, take it easy during your reintegration. There are changes back home, and it will take some time to adjust," he said. "Sentinels, congratulations on a job well done."
Then, the brigade commander addressed the incoming Spartans, who are based out of Concord, California.
“For the 1397th, my priorities are people, readiness and innovation,” he said. “Take care of your Soldiers and make sure they stay connected with their families.”
Central to the ceremony was when Army Reserve Maj. Trent Raymond, the 1185th DDSB commander, and Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Jeremy Stifler, the 1185th DDSB Headquarters and Headquarters Company's top noncommissioned officer, stepped onto the stage, rolled up their unit colors, and cased them in an olive green canvas sheath, symbolizing the end of their mission.
“We came from all over the United States to form a team,” said Raymond in his formal remarks.
“As we went along, we got to know each other,” he said.
"We drew closer, but of course, in every family, we had some disagreements—but we didn't let that stop us," the major said.
"We learned the process, improved the process, and mastered the process," he said.
“We all worked together to accomplish the mission,” he said.
“In our time, we moved 30,000 pieces of equipment worth almost $1 trillion. Our ports imported 53 percent and exported 47 percent of the 595th equipment in the AOR,” the major said. “We worked in the heat and the dust and the wind—and we never left a piece behind.”
After the ceremony, Stifler said he had great memories of the work the Sentinels accomplished.
“I am very proud of my Soldiers for their exemplary execution of a complex mission, delivering combat power throughout CENTCOM,” he said.
“I witnessed the 1185th, a unit that was filled with Soldiers from 20 different states, come together, grow and professionally develop, to overcome many obstacles and constraints during this deployment,” the Baltimore native said. “It is now time for us to pass the torch.”
Just as the casing of the 1185th DSSB colors signified the end of the Sentinels’ mission, Army Reserve Lt. Col. Joshua Hartwick, the 1397th DDSB commander, and Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Kowalkowski, the battalion’s senior enlisted advisor, climbed onto the stage to unfurl their unit colors marking the symbolic beginning of the Spartan’s mission.
In his remarks, Hartwick said he was grateful for the trust placed in him and his team and the cooperation from the 1185th Soldiers leading up to the transfer of authority.
“Over the last two weeks, and to be honest, the last few months, the 1185th has selflessly trained and mentored the 1397th on all nuances of running the seaport of debarkation at Port Shuaiba,” the colonel said.
“Their tireless efforts in assuring that we were ready and prepared to take over the mission will continue to pay dividends, as even now the team is currently conducting port operations down at Shuaiba,” he said.
Then, Hartwick turned to the 595th Trans. Bde. (SDDC) commander: “Col. Sierra-Guzman, sir, 1397th is ready to assume the mission.”