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Main body of Task Force Kitgum moves into Life Support Area Fist

Oct 23, 2009

By Spc. Jason Nolte

KITGUM, Uganda - Weeks of hard work have come to a head for the advance and torch parties of Natural Fire 10 as the main body moved from Entebbe, Uganda, to Kitgum and into their new home at Life Support Area Fist on Pajimo Barracks. The heat of the day was broken by a strong breeze as the first group arrived by CH-47 Chinook helicopters. They quickly carried the baggage to waiting cargo handlers, and then loaded onto separate buses for transportation to the reception point. The joint forces assigned to Task Force Kitgum as part of Combined Joint Task Force Lion were met at the reception point by 1st Sgt. Devika Hull, the task force personnel and administration officer from the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. "Accountability," Hull said, explaining the reason why everyone had to sign in upon arrival. "It makes sure everyone is where they\'re supposed to be." After signing in, the incoming troops were briefed on the rules of the LSA by Cpt. Rajesh Ramlakhan, the commander of the 5th Quartermaster Company, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, who had previously helped guide the helicopters in. Once oriented, the incoming troops were shown their living areas in the surrounding tents. "It went well," Hull said. "The 21st TSC had a well laid out plan. Captain Ramlakhan met them at the flight line and stayed with them the whole time." Lt. Col. Michael Cortez, the commander of the 21st TSC's Special Troops Battalion, spoke of the many responsibilities shared by the units participating in the exercise, specifically the 21st TSC. "We were responsible, both in Entebbe with the (Human Resources Sustainment Center-Europe) and here with the 5th Quartermaster, for Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration of hundreds of Soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen," he said. Later in the evening, after darkness had fallen in rural Uganda, a line of buses rolled up the dirt roads leading to the LSA, bringing the second group of troops in for the day, filling up the tents and filling up Task Force Kitgum in order to complete its mission. Natural Fire 10 is a routine, scheduled training exercise, which offers an opportunity for East African Community Partner Nations and the U.S. military to work together on a humanitarian assistance mission. Working together, all parties will learn from each other to increase regional capabilities to respond to complex humanitarian emergencies.

“We had 100 percent accountability,” Hull concluded. “That’s the important thing.”

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