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Customs Battalion Sierra Returns Home

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071018-14
Release Date: 10/18/2007 6:39:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Suits, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Atlantic

NORFOLK (NNS) -- More than 450 Sailors with Navy Customs Battalion Sierra, mobilized by Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG), returned home to Naval Station Norfolk Oct. 16.

Sierra provided support for the Department of Defense's customs inspection mission in Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

NAVELSG is an operational force of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and is organized and staffed to deliver expeditionary logistics capabilities with mobilization-ready Navy Reserve Force Sailors and equipment to theater commanders in support of the national military strategy.

While deployed, Sierra inspected more than 10,000 vehicles and aircraft, and processed approximately 150,000 passengers and 400,000 bags.

“Sierra took customs to a phenomenal level,” said Rear Adm. Patricia Wolfe, commander, Navy Supply Support Battalion 1, Phoenix. “They really raised the bar in the way we perform customs. The Army talks about the Navy customs being the best they can be.”

Throughout the deployment, 445 reserve Sailors from more than 100 Navy Operational Support Commands worked together to complete the mission.

“Initially, working with so many reservists was tough,” said Engineman 1st Class Allen Aparicio. “It was difficult at first to adjust, but after a certain amount of time, we got used to how different commands operate.”

NAVELSG, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., supports more than 3,500 Navy reservists located throughout the United States, comprising over 90 percent of the U.S. Navy’s Supply and Transportation Expeditionary Units.

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