posted by 147 FA on Apr 6

C Btry LogoFourteen months after Charlie Battery returned from a Security Force (SECFOR) mission to Baghdad, Iraq, the unit’s leadership received a call from their Battalion about another pending deployment in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In March of 2008, just after Easter, the 147th Field Artillery Battalion of which Yankton’s Charlie Battery is a part of was given a “pre-alert for training” warning for a summer of 2009 SECFOR deployment. The summer annual training (AT) at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming was changed. The Batteries involved still fired rockets with their Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) however an emphasis was placed on training required for the upcoming deployment. When the AT ended, Soldiers stored away their launchers and equipment and began the process of preparing for their next year’s deployment to Kuwait. Training for the SECFOR mission started with a SRC in Sioux Falls in September, 2008 followed by three months of extensive training and briefings at the Yankton Middle School. The unit traveled to a wintry Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in January for three weeks of weapons qualifications and SECFOR instruction and certification. Charlie Battery Soldiers and their families then met in April, 2009 for a pre-deployment briefing and the Battery was officially mobilized in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 15, 2009, just three days after Easter. The Battalion activated 360 Soldiers, enough Soldiers for three batteries; Alpha from Aberdeen, Headquarters from Watertown and Charlie Battery in Yankton. Soldiers from the Forward Support Company in Mitchell and Soldiers who were not deployed with Bravo Battery in Salem were divided up to serve with the units. Charlie Battery, commanded by Captain Kerry Nilson and First Sergeant Matt LaCroix was chosen for the Kuwaiti Sea Port of Debarkation and Embarkation (SPOD) Force Protection mission. After the Activation Ceremony in Yankton on April 19th, 2009 the Soldiers packed their gear and boarded a plane to Fort Hood, Texas where they would spend just over two months at the mobilization site, certifying the unit for the overseas duty. Captain Scott Green took command of the Battery after Captain Nilson suffered a back injury. On July 2, 2009, 129 Charlie Battery Soldiers arrived in Kuwait to start their nine month mission at the SPOD. This Sea Port in Kuwait is the busiest port in the world for the United States Military. 95% of all of the equipment and supplies for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom theaters travel through this port. The Army Chief of Staff General George Casey, Jr. stated in his August visit to the SPOD that this port is essential to the success of American troops in both theaters and will play a critical role in the drawdown of troops in Iraq as well as the surge of troops to Afghanistan. Charlie Battery provided 24 hour a day, 7 days a week force protection security at the Kuwaiti Sea Port of Debarkation/Embarkation. The Battery integrated for the first time in theater the Army, Navy and Coast Guard as one Security Force. This SECFOR element commanded by Charlie Battery manned five guard towers, six entry control points, two search areas, three quick reactionary force (QRF) Humvees, a Sergeant of the Guard and a Base Defense Operations Center which ensured the safety of the hundreds of personnel who were in charge of moving the deployment and redeployment equipment to and from theater. Charlie Battery operated out of Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, apart from the Battalion and Alpha Battery who were located at the Kuwaiti Naval Base. Three times a day, Soldiers would travel to the SPOD to complete their SECFOR mission while the Headquarters of the Battery supported them from their command and supply tents at Camp Arifjan. The Charlie Battery headquarters personnel made the SPOD mission easier for Soldiers by providing all of the paperwork, supplies and other support needed for the Battery. Charlie Battery also operated a 24/7 arms room that exceeded the requirements of the Army Central Command and gave Charlie Battery accolades after each inspection. First and foremost, Charlie Battery successfully completed their quintessential SECFOR mission of securing the Kuwaiti Sea Port of Debarkation/Embarkation for nine months. According the Executive Port Commander of the SPOD, this SECFOR mission provided a deterrent force protection that enabled trillions of dollars of equipment, cargo and vessels to safely supply both theaters of operations in the Middle East. Charlie Battery’s 1151 hummv QRF’s traveled 41,963 miles inside the confinements of the SPOD on roving patrols in the nine months of force protection duties. These QRF vehicles continually patrolled the pier side, command and control and western sectors of the SPOD, while providing over watch to high valued asset (HVA) vessels that would load and unload military equipment and vehicles at the unsecured side of the Kuwaiti port. Every single HVA vessel that arrived was vetted by EOD to ensure the pier was clear of explosives. This vetting always had a QRF landside over watch ensuring the safety of the vetting team in the water. Charlie Battery’s QRF Hummv’s responded to over 658 missions while on duty at the SPOD. Third Country Nationals (TCN) comprised most of the work force at the SPOD. Every TCN worker had to be searched entering the SPOD, each and every time they came to work. Personal searches guaranteed the safety and security of the Port and the personnel working there from personal attacks. The Soldiers of Charlie Battery performed over 187,600 personal searches of the TCN’s entering the port over the nine months of SECFOR duty. TCN’s were not the only searches that were conducted at the SPOD. Every vehicle entering the SPOD was also searched. Charlie Battery SECFOR personnel searched 115,950 vehicles while at the SPOD making sure that the sea-going vessels, military equipment and all personnel were safe from possible vehicular borne improvised explosive devices. 3,917 convoys entered the SPOD gates during Charlie Battery’s time at the SPOD. Charlie Battery Soldiers took part in twenty-one Base Defense Liaison Team (BDLT) drills while deployed at the Kuwaiti Sea Port of Debarkation. The BDLT evaluated the Soldier’s responses to possible IED’s, contraband and unauthorized access to the SPOD. Charlie Battery Soldiers responded well to the drills, showing their knowledge of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) while demonstrating a professionalism that was needed in extreme situations. The Charlie Battery Soldiers worked eight hour shifts at the SPOD which translated into an eleven to twelve hour day after guard mounts, briefings and traveling to and from the Sea Port. Charlie Battery Soldiers worked more than 200,000 man hours securing the SPOD and supporting the mission. The soldiers drove over 248,000 kilometers in nontactical vehicles in support of the SPOD SECFOR mission without an injury related accident. Just one month after Charlie Battery took over the task of Securing the SPOD, it was tasked with another mission. Charlie Battery was put in charge of two man escort teams for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that were being flown to Afghanistan. The two Soldier teams would observe up to six MRAPs being loaded onto cargo planes. The Soldiers would fly with the MRAPs to Afghanistan where these mission essential pieces of equipment were delivered to the troops on the ground. The soldiers were then on their own to secure military transportation back to Kuwait where they would wait for another escort flight. In just over one month, 42 MRAP missions were completed with soldiers flying over 110,000 miles. Three of Charlie Battery’s medics were sent to Iraq as a part of Convoy Escort Teams. These medics received class three training which enabled them to travel into the Iraqi theater of operations. The medics made five trips to Iraq providing essential medical support to the convoys. The United States Marine Corps also employed the services of our medics when they needed medical support for a four day range at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Charlie Battery was tasked with one other mission while deployed to Kuwait. With H1N1 becoming a pandemic, assigned Soldiers from the Battery were sent to the Air Port of Debarkation (APOD) to test incoming personnel for signs of the flu. In 86 missions to the APOD, Charlie Battery Soldiers tested over 18,720 individuals for H1N1. Service members who tested positive were isolated for ten days. This vital mission kept H1N1 from being a threat to Soldiers in theater. Charlie Battery conducted the RIP/TOA with Bravo Battery, 2-116th FA of the Florida Army National Guard at 1000 hrs on March 23, 2010. Early in the morning on March 25th the Battery boarded a plane that would take them to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, United States of America for the demobilization process. The entire 147th FA Battalion then traveled to South Dakota to complete their mission with a demobilization ceremony that was held in Yankton, Mitchell, Watertown and Aberdeen, just a couple of days before Easter. When all is said and done, Charlie Battery played a vital role in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom by securing the Kuwaiti Sea Port of Debarkation/Embarkation. The continuous flow of supplies to and from the two theaters depends almost solely on this essential port. The Soldiers of Charlie Battery and their families can be proud of the mission that they completed and the impact that the members of Charlie Battery had on the wars on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dakota Warrior! Dakota Pride! CPT Scott Green/1SG Matt Lacroix

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