82nd Sustainment Brigade
Division Support Command (DISCOM), 82nd Airborne Division
The mission of the 82nd Sustainment Brigade is to support FORSCOM units stationed at Fort Bragg, while generating sustainment capabilities to meet rotational demand and respond to future contingencies.
The previous Division Support Command (DISCOM) was one of 6 major subordinate commands in the 82nd Airborne Division. The others were the 3 infantry brigades, the aviation brigade, and the DIVARTY. The DISCOM provided effective and responsive support to tactical units. To provide this support to the tactical commander, logistics and HSS assets were effectively organized and positioned where they were needed. The DISCOM provided division-level logistics and HSS to all organic elements of the Division and, in certain cases, to nondivisional units in the Division area.
The HHC, Division Support Command was designed a multifaceted company composed of 3 critical elements. The DISCOM headquarters provided the necessary command and control elements for the DISCOM. The Material Management Center managed all classes of supply (less class VIII, COMSEC, and classified maps) and monitored the operational readiness posture for the Division. The Division Medical Operations Center (DMOC) managed CHS resources in the Division to include evacuation, patient treatment, holding, and Medical Logistics (CL VIII). The Headquarters Company element provided command and control and logistical support to the DISCOM headquarters, Material Management Center, Division Medical Operations Center and attached units.
The DISCOM commander of the 82nd Airborne Division would divide his elements into the 3 echelons for support (assault, follow-on, and rear). This support would be tailored support for each echelon based on the factors of METT-T. This included personnel and equipment to be supported, number of airframes available, and size of operation. Just as the airborne force was tailored for airdrop or airland combat operations, logistics was tailored to support the airhead or lodgment by airdrop, airland, overland, or sea. Critical support elements from the Forward Support Battalions, such as Class III, V, VIII, and IX supply elements were typically in the assault echelon, and the remaining FSB assets would enter during the follow-on echelon. In the case of a full-division deployment, key elements from the Main Support Battalion and Aviation Maintenance Company (D/82nd Aviation) were in the follow-on echelon, and the remaining MSB and AMCO elements remained with the rear echelon.
Planners also had to ensure adequate command and control assets were included with each echelon to control logistics elements on the ground and coordinate all logistics activities. In the assault phase and early in the follow-on phase, elements of the FSB Headquarters and Service Company could be sufficient to perform these roles. However, in some cases, personnel from the DISCOM headquarters might have had to deploy in the early echelons to perform functions for which the FSB headquarters had no expertise. If host-nation support was a major factor, DISCOM personnel were likely to have more expertise to coordinate the effort.
In any case, the logistics C2 element expanded as the size of logistics force on the ground grew. At all times the deployed logistics force was required to maintain contact with its supporting element whether that element was the rear echelon of the DISCOM or, in the case of a fully deployed division, the sustainment base of the next higher echelon, whatever that might have been the time. The critical component in maintaining the constant link was assured communications.
When the Division was fully deployed, a nondivision ordnance company would establishe an ATP in the division rear to support any division elements operating in the rear. The FSB Headquarters and Supply Companies (HQ/A Companies) had assets to establish an ATP in each BSA. Even in operations involving less than a fully deployed division, the FSB would establish an ATP in the BSA to transload ammunition arriving from EAD. In the assault phase or early in the follow-on phase, the DISCOM might pool assets from more than one FSB ATP section to establish an ad hoc ammunition supply point. An ATP did not store ammunition but in the early stages of an airborne operation storage may be required until a transload system can be established.
Units carried a limited amount of Class IV into the objective area. Careful choice of drop and assault landing zones reduced the amount of Class IV necessary to support the operation by minimizing the requirement for construction equipment and material. The Division commander determined the Class IV stockage in the Division and the DMMC managed Class IV stockage. There was no specified division-level reserve for Class IV supplies. Class IV stockage capabilities were extremely limited, and DSA supply points stocked them only when required to support a specific operation. Units would use local resources for Class IV whenever possible.
Maintenance problems were magnified in the 82nd Airborne Division by the scarcity of maintenance personnel in the objective area during the assault phase and by the possible damage to equipment during air drop operations.
Maintenance personnel organic to the airborne battalions and separate companies along with limited critical elements from the FSB performed maintenance during the initial assault. The remainder of the FSB maintenance company plus other designated individuals and equipment from the MSB maintenance companies would enter the objective area in the follow-on echelon. These maintenance personnel provided direct support of primary weapons systems and communications equipment. They also carried fast-moving Class IX items and used maintenance support teams extensively to perform on-site repairs.
After the build-up of the airhead (assault phase), the remaining direct support maintenance elements would be deployed. Once the Division was fully deployed, the FSB maintenance company performed direct support maintenance for Division units in the Brigade area, and the MSB maintenance company would provide direct support maintenance for Division units in the Division rear. The MSB maintenance companies provided reinforcing DS to the forward support maintenance company. Nondivisional maintenance assets provided reinforcing DS to the division.
Extensive maintenance was performed prior to the start of the operation and only operator/crew maintenance was performed by the crews during the assault phase. The Aviation Unit Maintenance (AVUM) Company from the aviation brigade provided support during the follow-on phase. Critical AVIM elements would arrive during this phase and provide reinforcing AVUM and limited AVIM during this stage. As the lodgment expanded, corps slices would be tailored into the force for support.
The MSB Light Maintenance Company would receive and issue common and missile repair parts required by its maintenance activities. It would also receive, store, maintain, and manage reparable items. The FSB Maintenance Company would maintain a stock of repair parts and maintenance-related supplies to support its own maintenance activities. It would also carrie a stock of demand supported and combat critical Class IX items for issue to supported units.
Vehicles were filled to USAF specifications (usually 1/2 to 3/4 of a full tank) prior to loading on the aircraft. Inspected fuel cans filled with fuel could also be loaded on the aircraft. Bulk fuel in "bladder birds" could be loaded on aircraft if desired by the commander. Once the follow-on echelon forces arrived, fuel and lubricant supplies would arrive as packaged products. As the operation matured, fuel would usually be delivered in bulk. Throughout distribution and supply point distribution would be performed. Upon delivery of fuel from EAD, DISCOM personnel would transfer the fuel from the EAD assets into HSC tanks. Supply personnel from the FSB HSC would use organic transportation and 500-gallon drums either mounted on cargo trucks or sling loaded by helicopter to distribute emergency supplies. Supported units in the Division rear would pick up fuel in their organic refueling vehicles from the MSB HSC.
The DISCOM staff would make extensive plans for resupply of airborne forces using airdrop, airland, and helicopter operations. The US Air Force would be tasked with transporting most personnel, supplies, and equipment in all 3 echelons during an airborne operation. The 82nd Airborne Division would rely on its organic quartermaster airdrop equipment support company for rigging support. The G4 would coordinate for aircraft to fly routine resupply missions. Aircraft for emergency resupply missions would be coordinated through the G3. The Division's Aviation Brigade would also provides some aircraft support to include limited transportation for personnel, supplies, and equipment. Corps aircraft would deliver in theater any emergency resupply to the lowest possible support element in the division. CSS personnel would likely cross-load follow-on supplies to offset loss of one type of item if aircraft were to be lost.
Once on the ground, the airborne form had limited tactical ground mobility for both personnel and equipment. Mobility depended on the numbers and types of ground vehicles that could be brought into or seized within the objective area. Captured enemy vehicles were to be used to supplement limited transportation resources. Efficient use of organic transportation was essential.
Health service support would conserve the fighting strength (trained manpower) of the airborne force allowing the commander to maintain maximum combat power. The DMOC and the support operations sections of the MSB and the FSBs would plan for medical operations before insertion of the Division into an area of operation. Anticipated casualty rates and disease threats would dictate the extent of initial and subsequent HSS required by the Division. During the planning process, HSS planners also considered the limited number of tactical/strategic airframes, the limited duration of the operation and the special nature of the mission. Special missions included hostage rescue and withdrawal operations. HSS personnel and equipment could be deployed into the operational area by parachute or by air landing.
HSS personnel would rely upon palletized or containerized air delivery of supplies and equipment, both for initial deployment and subsequent resupply. The Division and unit medical treatment elements stocked a limited amount of Class VIII, with the DMSO maintaining a larger amount of Class VIII. Resupply would be first made by push packages while the follow-on echelon was deploying. Door bundles were to be prepared for packaged Class VIII supplies, including IV solutions and bandages. These bundles would be distributed among aircraft to prevent destruction by a single incident. Once the rear echelon was in place, normal supply procedures would be followed. HSS personnel could use evacuation aircraft returning from EAD to provide urgently required Class VIII.
Airborne units carried MREs when entering the objective area. Airborne forces carried filled canteens, water purification tablets, and filters. Normally, they would carry enough full organic water containers for travel to the airhead. CSS planners would determine the location of possible water points. Water purification and storage assets were in the MSB HSC.
The 82nd Support Group was first constituted on 1 September 1957 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It was comprised of units with long and gallant histories from the vaunted 82nd Airborne Division, dating back to the First World War.
On 25 May 1964 the unit was reorganized as the 82nd Division Support Command (DISCOM). A year later, the unit deployed to the Dominican Republic to support Operation Powerpack, the Division's incursion into that country to quest civil unrest and restore order.
In 1983 the unit again deployed to the Caribbean to support combat operations in Grenada, dubbed Operation Urgent Fury. In 1989 DISCOM supported the first combat jump since World War II during Operation Just Cause in Panama. A year later, these logistical Paratroopers deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. When hostilities commenced in that volatile region, the operation transitioned to Operation Desert Storm and the unit helped protect the XVIII Airborne Corps' left flank.
The unit returned to Iraq again in 2003 to support the All-Americans during Operation Iraqi Freedom I.
In August 2005 the unit undertook a special and different kind of operation. President George Bush ordered the unit to assist the beleaguered citizens of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area.
In January 2006, as part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force, the 82nd Airborne Division began to transition. As part of the transformation, the 82nd Division Support Command was reorganized and redesignated on 16 February 2006 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Sustainment Brigade. It was concurrently relieved from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division and its organic elements, to include the Brigade's Special Troops Battalion, were constituted and activated. The unit was assigned to XVIII Corps, but the 82nd Airborne Division maintained training and readiness authority for the Brigade.
Under the Army's modular transformation redesign, the unit was inactivated, reorganized and redesignated as the 82nd Sustainment Brigade, and reactivated as part of the transforming modular 82nd Airborne Division. Some of the most noticable changes under the force structure shift included the changes in relationship between Corps and Division level support elements. The 82nd DISCOM's Forward Support Battalions and Main Support Battalions, habitually attached in full or in part to the Division's line brigades, were inactivated and reactivated as Brigade Support Battalions for the 3 reorganized Brigade Combat Teams and the newly formed 4th Brigade Combat Team. The 21st Chemical Company was retained by the 82nd Sustainment Brigade. The 264th Corps Support Battalion was also inactivated, reorganized and redesignated as the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, and reactivated assigned to the 82nd Sustainment Brigade.
Following the transformation, elements of the 82nd Sustainment Brigade went on to support subsequent deployments of elements of the 82nd Airborne Division to Afghanistan and Iraq as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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