posted by 147 FA on Mar 31

HHB LogoJuly 2009 HHB started their mission overseas as three platoons each conducting different missions. The platoon’s missions are Command and Control (Battalion Staff Sections) of land side port security, Camp Command (Mayor Cell) of Camp Patriot, and an Area Reaction Force for all of southern Kuwait. The Area Reaction Force covered over 6000 square kilometers of battle space known as SECFOR South. HHB has brought their Midwest mentality with them raising the bar and exceeding Army standards. The Soldiers are continually complimented on how well they are performing their duties! South Dakota can be proud of the 1/147th Field Artillery Battalion. 1st PLATOON - AREA REACTION FORCE The ARF Platoon has made several improvements since being stationed at KNB as well as assisting in different projects. The biggest change was probably the work done on the platoon’s Ready Room. This is the room where the ready squad spends 8 hours during their shift in case of an incident that requires our response. The platoon ripped up the old vinyl floor covering which was laid in sections and starting to peel on all of the seams. Old repairs of duct tape had proved to be unworthy of all of the foot traffic and started to create a trip hazard. Once the vinyl was pulled up, the glue had to be soaked and scrapped off. Surprisingly, underneath was nice dark wood that made clean up easier and faster. Since we keep our equipment in the R/R, we put in a request to add supports on one wall to hang our IOTV’s and keep them off the floor and more organized for rapid deployments. We also requested to remove the 2 toilets and sink out of the 2 latrines on the other end of the room which was not hooked up or in use. Once removed, we requested 2 DSN lines and turned them into more private phone rooms where our Soldiers could use to call home. The wall holding our IOTV’s was painted black with the middle painted white to use as a projector screen for use of the overhead projector that was hung from the ceiling, along with a sound system, that is used for NCODP, movies, video games, and sporting events such as football, UFC fights etc. We also ordered new chairs, tables, and a couch for this room. The Command Post is one of the most noticeable changes made by just a layer of paint. We went to the self help center on Camp Arifjan and acquired paint, brushes, rollers, spackling, and tape. The walls were white and full of holes showing years of use and neglect. 3rd and 4th squad removed everything off the walls, spackled all the holes and dents and painted both rooms in two days. Along with the paint, we ordered a new couch to replace the one that was here prior to us. Some shelving and weapons racks were moved around to make the rooms more open and user friendly to maneuver around in, which was a great improvement over the bottle neck of people coming and going. The platoon was issued 6 brand new M1151 up armored HMMWV’s to replace the old M1114’s that were here when we arrived. In the changeover, all of the communication equipment had to be switched from the old vehicles to the new ones. Several of our Soldiers spent many hours removing and installing several Blue Force Trackers and about a dozen ASIP radio’s along with all of the VIC systems to accompany the radios. The latest improvement was the sun shade over our up armored HMMWV’s. We sewed 3 sections of sun shade to replace the 2 dilapidated screens that was in place when we arrived. The platoon did a great job in setting up and securing the screens to cover the entire ready line. We also use this area for our weekly platoon Bar-B-Q. The platoon was asked to do the flag ceremonies for HHB Battery Soldiers. The platoon flew over 100 US Flags in full ceremony to be presented to the Soldiers of HHB. These ceremonies took approximately 3 months. Maintenance section cleans out a containerThe platoon was also asked to assist the Maintenance Platoon in setting up their 3 brand new maintenance tents. The majority of the work was done by the Maintenance Platoon but where we helped was the assembly of the sections and framework, lifting the tents for the lower supports and moving the entire assembled tents in place once the floor work was accomplished. We spent many hours on the KNB range making improvements to ease the use of the firing range for all units. We had Soldiers clean up the firing range and firing position areas that were apparently used for storage and garbage collection. The entire range was police called, picking up truck loads of garbage and dun age. We also laid the firing positions using engineer tape that would certify the qualification of not only Army personnel but other branches to include the Navy and Coast Guard. 2nd PLATOON - BATTALION STAFF SECTIONS HHB HQ On July 5th 2009 members of the 147TH FA Headquarters section began the process of replacing members of the 487th FA. The Supply section, Armor, Admin NCO, Captain and First Sergeant all began to assume their positions and start the transformation. Headquarters members quickly learned all the intricacies of their new positions at Kuwait Naval Base. The transition with our Hawaiian counterparts of the 487th went very quickly and HHB HQ was ready for the transfer of authority. The RIPTOA between the two units took place on July 29, 2009. After the transfer of authority the Headquarters Building received some much needed attention. The HQ BLDG was a shambles; it looked terrible, disorganized and dirty. With everyone in the sections effort cleaning and rearranging began, the transformation was phenomena and now HHB’s HQ office looks professional, organized and inviting. SSG Brandlee’s and PFC Shultz’s supply room is always neat and everyone knows that the supply section is squared away. The Supply section has turned in over two million dollars worth of excess equipment and identified equipment that was left behind by other units. The neglected equipment has been returned to the rightful units, for their accountability. SGT Fields' arms room has also undergone a positive transformation. Weapons racks and cages were rearranged and new lighting has been added. SGT Fields' arms room has undergone seven inspections, including Physical Security and OIP inspections. Each of these inspections was a 100% go for the Unit, which reflects on SGT Fields' and SSG Brandlee’s understanding of the arms room. SGT Field has also been instrumental during his daily routine in the arms room. His attention to detail and knowledge of all weapons has provided the unit with a tremendous amount of support, especially during weapons qualifications. CPT Sprecher and 1SG Thoelke are responsible for everything and everyone in Head Quarters Battery. But their first mission has been taking care of soldiers. The Captain and First Sergeant have continually gone out of their way to make sure that soldiers’ needs are being met. They have both spent an insurmountable amount of time working on awards, NCOERS, EPS and a myriad of other projects. Their dedication to the soldiers is truly remarkable. S-3 In July, MAJ Faleafine and MSG Odoardi of the 487th FA took MAJ Koehler, MSG Thyne and SGM Diede to Samoud and introduced us to Randy Williams and the staff of MPRI (Military Professional Resource Inc.). This was the start of our Kuwait National Guard Host Nation mission. The S3 was assigned a single, high visibility high profile mission to assist training Kuwait’s elite military, the Kuwait National Guard. MSG Thyne was assigned this mission as his primary duty while in Kuwait. As the S3 office doesn’t have Soldiers at their disposal, they tasked the ARF to be our Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and actually do the training that is coordinated through this office. MSG Thyne first task was to assist MPRI with instructing Kuwait’s version of Basic NCO course. Another course that we assisted with was MOUT training. This consisted of individual, room clearing, stairways, and building clearing techniques. The training site was complete with glass house and shoot house. SRTA rounds were used and the entire process was filmed. MSG Thyne went on R & R on 8 January and SGM Diede took over for him. SGM Diede’s first class was with Riot Control with a class of 51 students that became very proficient in riot control fundamentals. Inter-mixed with the riot control were range days. SFC Mike Pierson’s 2nd squad was on hand to assist the Kuwaitis with individual weapons qualifications. Once the Kuwaitis had qualified, a challenge was issued to the merikees (American Soldiers) and SPC Nick Schaefer’s and SPC Lucas Brockhaus obliged and without zeroing their weapons, went on to shoot the highest scores of the day. S-6 During our deployment here in Kuwait, we have been able to stay connected to everyone back home through our Battalion Internet system. The S6 section has been working hard on making sure that the connection to the world is continued. When our section first got into Kuwait we had a very unstable Internet connection. Whenever a humidity front came in, more Soldiers arrived, or an older piece of the equipment went down Soldiers went extended periods of time without Internet. With the new Internet system that the S6 installed and maintains, Soldiers are never without Internet for more than a day. Installing the new Internet was not an easy task. S6 Soldiers did all of the “legwork” to get the Internet up and going. Breaking through the rock hard ground was the most challenging part of the installation. Soldiers had to use pick axes to break through the ground, shovels were definitely not the tool of choice in this situation! Since the S6 section could not dig very deep into the very hard ground, the section had to come up with a way to ensure that the CATV cable would not be cut. MSG Ragels suggested that we use a metal pipe to run the cable, in hopes that the metal pipe would have enough strength to protect the cable in this particular high traffic area. In addition to all of the regular duties of the S6 section has worked very hard to ensure that the 1/147th FA BN has had reasonable, fast, and reliable Internet throughout the deployment. MAINTENANCE Maintenance section gets out the big cleaning equipmentLast July the 147th FSC Maintenance Section rolled into Kuwait Naval Base and gave the SECFOR Motor Pool an “Extreme Makeover” and a new chance at high readiness rates. The weather in July was extreme and the dirt and dust blew through the tattered maintenance bays. Electrical problems caused safety hazards and equipment problems. As the year progressed and the weather cooled the rains came causing the tattered tents to leak and the area to flood. Five months after the maintenance section arrived in Kuwait; the weather had cooled and the materials were gathered to do a motor pool makeover. The old tents were removed and new tents were erected. The faulty wiring was replaced with a new safe power grid. Maintenance section cleans up the motorpoolThe 147th FSC Maintenance section did most of the work, but could not have completed the project without some outside help. The Area Reaction Force (ARF) crew assisted with man power. The Mayor Cell provided contracting support, and materials. The FMS support shop fabricated new aluminum ends for each tent. "For the last six months we worked in a shop with broken windows and a leaky roof. The tents were in terrible shape", said SSG Wacholz. The new tents along with other improvements will make the work environment safer and more comfortable for many years to come. 3rd PLATOON - KNB CAMP COMMAND (Mayor Cell) Contracting The South Dakotan’s are leaving Kuwaiti Naval Base and Kuwait a better place then when we arrived because we have enforced contracts, enforced badging policies, cleaned old equipment, updated maps and blueprints, and improved the working condition on KNB. We now have the contractors working for us like they were designed to do instead of having them tell the units what they can do. This has increase the productivity of the contractors without having to pay for overtime. The contracting office has watched over a total of 11 contracts that ensured potable water, removal of waste water, power generation of all mission facilities, facilities maintenance, facilities cleaning and more. All contracts in total were $4.8 million and while at Camp Patriot the contracting office made payments out totaling $2.8 million. The contracting office worked to make sure U.S. tax dollars were not being abused. The Contracting Office knows each contract inside out, and where to find all rules and regulations associated with the contract. They Report all violations of the contracts to Quality Assurance Representatives for the government. The contracting office has written up over 20 non-compliance reports when the contractors where found violating the contract. We have all contactors badged and enforce the policy. For an example, the contracting office has held contractors responsible on badging requirements. Without the badges they could not work and take the chance of not getting paid. Within a few weeks of taking over the office we had all contractors properly badged and following all security requirements that were not being meet prior to South Dakota’s arrival. We have 100% accountability for all US government equipment with systems in place to monitor it twice a month. When we arrived there were large generators and other equipment just sitting around the base not being used. We inventoried and labeled all (404 pieces) of equipment in use and turned what was not being used in to Area Support Group Kuwait for reutilization. The Project Office coordinates from all branches, Army, Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard, to initiate projects that are mission essential from the idea stage all the way to completion of the project on base. Some of the projects completed were adding electrical poles tents, office trailers, designing restroom remodels for the Kuwaiti pool area, adding additional work space and power for the Coast Guard on KNB. The project NCOIC has also updated all the KNB maps and blueprints on the AutoCAD program. Everyone will be glad to know they have utilized our civilian skills and work ethic to keep the contractors on track in Kuwait. Base Sustainment Many accomplishments & achievements have come with the Base Sustainment section of the 147th FA Mayor Cell since arriving at KNB. One being Operation Responsible Cleanup that took place several months into the deployment. SSG Lee Kayser was in charge of the Operation for KNB. The main focus was to remove any unclaimed containers and equipment. Eight containers from around camp and 96 containers from the dirty lot were removed and sent to Arifjan. Along with this, we tore down and turned in five old, raggedy tents that were not being utilized for a while. The removal of the containers, equipment and tents made more space at the wash racks and dirty lot for tenant units to use for trailers or equipment. One big achievement on the environmental side, was the success of the first Harbor Spill Response drill in January 2010. CW3 Brett Anderson headed the drill. Involved were the CJLOC, 147th SECFOR, KNB Fire Department, the Harbor Masters, AMC, the Coast Guard, Navy and CSA Environmental Office from Camp Arifjan. Calls were made and a containment boom pulled out to contain the simulated spill. Recycling was also big for Base Sustainment. From July 09 to present, Warrior Recycle has placed over half a million water bottles in tri-walls and shipped to the Recycle Yard in Arifjan. Tri-walls were consolidated from being all over camp to six specific locations, each site containing 3 – 4 tri-walls. Until CSA took over, the guys worked one night a week with volunteers from tenant units, picking up the tri-walls and readying them for shipment in the recycle yard on KNB. Water & Ice for KNB is run by SGT Laron Unzen. He takes calls from requesting tenant units, calls the MCT (Movement Control Team) with the number of pallets to go out that night and where they go to. Before close of business, he drives down to MCT to sign the TMR for the request he put in. Since July 09, 1,870 pallets of water have been ordered from the company Agility and 453 pallets ice have been ordered from the Arifjan Ice Plant for KNB. Ten vehicles are dispatched and maintained by SGT Travis Simmons. 5 of the 10 are used to support transient units during their wash rack operations and any tenant units needing transportation to meetings on Arifjan. The other 5 are used between the Mayor Cell sections and SECFOR to accomplish their missions. BILLETING, MORALE, WELFARE, RECREATION, and BADGING On the Billeting side of the house, SFC Morrison and SGT Smith have successfully housed thousands of transient military service members, Distinguished Visitors, contractors and guests. We have been able to accommodate nearly all requests that have come our way, typically while we are at our busiest, and experiencing a surge in camp population. We have had several issues that arose that we acted upon quickly and resolved with minimal waste. Billeting is very time consuming, by nature, we receive transient requests daily from redeployment troops downrange that are sending containers, vehicles, and equipment here to KNB to be washed and sent back to the States. Sometimes we have 2 weeks’ notice before they arrive, oftentimes we don't, and still it is our responsibility to provide temporary, adequate housing for them. Essentially we aim to treat people as we would like to be treated; with dignity and respect, as much for the rank as for the person. The Flag Program that SGT Smith is in charge of has really taken off. She has flown approximately 400 flags for 147th FA soldiers, and other personnel stationed on Camp Patriot since taking it over from the previous unit, 487th FA. It is an honor for her to do, and she sincerely appreciates the help from her fellow Mayor Cell soldiers. SSG McMillian and the Houston Texans CheerleadersThe MWR program has had 2 successful softball and 2 football tournaments during our deployment; SSG McMillan has helped bring in several USO tours in KNB/ Camp Patriot. SPC Francisco heads up the Badging Section. He secures passes and identification cards for contractors, third country nationals, interpreters and deals with the Host Nation on a daily basis. He does a variety of jobs and excels at each task. This is how Billeting provides shelter to all service members here Camp Patriot. BASE SUPPORT OPERATIONS Base Support Operations is responsible for all base property maintenance, repair, and even minor projects on Kuwait Naval Base. BSO is also charged with ensuring the stability of installation facilities, and implementing fire and safety practices throughout Camp Patriot. Our tasks are continuous and as night falls our responsibilities are not over. BSO is responsible for providing lighting and light carts so personnel can continue their missions. We provide and conduct maintenance on all generators used for lighting throughout Kuwait Naval Base. BSO also maintains a 24 Hour phone service that provides service members from all branches Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and Coast Guard with around the clock emergency services. Members of the BSO section were selected because of their unique individual ability and the professional skills they possess. As soon as the BSO members arrived in country their skills were put to the test. None of us could have imagined how busy we would be. With the temperatures continually over one hundred degrees, air conditioning and electrical problems became our biggest challenge. Facing challenges is always accepted with a can do attitude within BSO. Another overwhelming challenge we faced was figuring out which contractors supported us and in what capacity. During our first few months in country BSO responded to a daunting amount of emergency calls and processed an overwhelming amount routine work orders. As time passed we made considerable progress, now we could manage our time better, and look at what could be done to make camp improvements. Many individuals on Camp Patriot were without hot water in their living quarters. The water heaters had been shut off years ago due to potential electrical problems and safety concerns. Our experienced electrician and plumber in the BSO knew exactly how to fix this problem and install the water heaters safely. SSG Heilman is an experienced electrician and SSG Beisch has had civilian plumbing experience. Together SSG Heilman, SSG Beisch and PFC Thyne installed over 300 feet of conduit and 200 foot of plumbing providing hot water for over 200 individuals. Installation of the water heaters dramatically improved the quality of life for the individuals living in the “Blue Brick Housing Complex.” Our projects continue on a daily basis and the camp tenants like to challenge us with new ideas. The BSO section has constructed sidewalks, remodeled offices, repaired buildings, installed driveway approaches and made many other camp improvements. SSG Pulscher can repair or make anything and proves it daily in his workshop. He has made signs, tables, chairs, over a hundred fire extinguisher boxes and even a bridge, if you need something he will make it. SSG Pulscher and SSG Seurer have made considerable improvements in our SECFOR compound. Before construction began the east gate of the compound was filled with dangerous obstacles. High voltage electrical cables, water, boards and sand bags made this area a dangerous one. Soldiers who passed through were at risk but all that has changed now. With everyone’s safety in mind, SSG Carl Pulscher came up with a brilliant idea. He thought of a draw bridge and how it would eliminate all the potentially dangerous perils below. Carl stated that the “sign above the walkway door “King of Battle” actually reminded him of castles and that is where the draw bridge idea came from.” The new draw bridge is safer for soldiers especially at night. Tread pads with glow in the dark strips and non slip textured paint called “sure foot” have been applied to the surface of the bridge. Near the bridge under the South Dakota flag you will notice another improvement. SSG Dave Seurer constructed a memorial plaque in honor of our fallen South Dakota comrades. Both Dave and Carl have carpentry backgrounds, the craftsmanship and quality of their work is truly remarkable. The bridge and memorial projects are great improvements to our compound. SSG Prezler, SSG Seurer and SSG Pulsher have all worked very hard on a number of renovation projects that have taken place throughout Camp Patriot. Another key member of the BSO section is SFC Schladweiler. He is in charge of all aspects of Fire and Safety on Kuwait Naval Base including training and inspections. The broad spectrum nature of Fire and Safety keeps SFC Schladweiler extremely busy. He conducts monthly camp safety meetings and works closely with the ASG Kuwait fire marshal. SFC Schladweiler is responsible for inspecting ninety seven facility buildings. BSO has noticeably improved the quality of life for all service members living on Kuwait Naval Base. We will continue to serve this community by providing beautification, renovation, safety, pest control and numerous other services. Our goal to maintain and improve the quality of life here has been met and we will continue to meet that challenge and conduct our services until we leave Kuwait Naval Base. The BSO section has processed over 2,600 facility maintenance work orders and responded to over 400 emergency requests. During the second part of our deployment, the BSO section focused on remodeling projects. One of the projects included dividing a trailer into two offices by adding a wall and door. Another required the complete demolition of a trailer that was not up to fire safety code and replacing it with a newly remodeled trailer. Together with CSA we constructed a force protection container providing x-ray capabilities greatly enhancing the security of our camp. We were able to provide the Navy customs with two new office trailers greatly improving their working conditions. With the camp conducting 24hour operations we added 21 security flood lights throughout camp providing a well lit area for our service members to conduct business. A major improvement was added to the BSO maintenance area, a 20X24 tent was erected providing an air conditioned work shop. Huge progress was made with task forces safe issues around the camp, our commitment to provide a safe environment has been recognized throughout Kuwait. Another trailer that was not being utilized was removed to make room for the new Green Bean Coffee shop. This is a common hang out spot for service members and we were able to enhance the area by adding lighting and tables. Several other projects will be started and handed off to our replacements as time runs short for us. We ordered a new main water system for the Blue Bricks last fall and the materials have finally shown up. This is an excellent project to work together with our replacements and in doing so teaching them the infrastructure of these buildings. FROM THE COMMANDER Reading the accomplishments of the battery, it says a lot about the Soldiers under my command. The accomplishments of this Battery during Operation Iraqi Freedom 9.2 are truly remarkable. Unit members were responsible for so many unmentioned missions, projects and daily tasks. When I think of these duties and how many miles have been driven, without incident I am truly thankful! Our mission is coming to an end and we are all looking forward to transfer of authority and returning home successfully. We still must keep in mind safety and mission first! Sincerely, CPT Patrick Sprecher

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