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541st CSSB completes 402nd AFSB support mission

August 15, 2012

By Johnnie Frazier, 402nd AFSB Public Affairs

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- The 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan., completed its mission supporting the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade in August and is now coming home to the United States.

The 541st CSSB, led Lt. Col. William Cain Jr. and Command Sgt. Maj. Bryan Witzel, is known as the "Pacesetter Battalion" whose motto "Set the Pace," exemplified the unit's efforts during its deployment.

Leading up to its mission completion was an award ceremony on Aug. 3 recognizing 541st CSSB Soldiers with end-of-tour awards for their support of Operation New Dawn. Awards ranged from Army Achievement Medals to a Bronze Star Medal.

Cain was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Witzel received the Meritorious Service Medal.

"We are going to recognize each and every one of you today for your outstanding contributions," said Col. John D. Kuenzli, 402nd AFSB commander. "At the end of the day, we can never thank you enough."

A casing ceremony was then held Aug. 6 attended by Maj. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr., commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser, 1st Infantry Division, as distinguished guests.

"What a great day to case the colors for the 541st CSSB and to start our journey back to Fort Riley," Cain said.

In cooperation with the Army Materiel Command, the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, and the 402nd AFSB, the 541st CSSB seamlessly accomplished the commander-in-chief's directive of helping to withdraw all forces and equipment out of Iraq by the end of December 2011.

The battalion was assigned to the 402nd AFSB to establish Redistribution Property Assistance Teams and Mobile Redistribution Property Assistance Teams throughout Iraq and Kuwait. The teams in turn provided Theater Provided Equipment accountability and redistribution throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in order to support the drawdown.

The 541st CSSB successfully integrated into the 402nd AFSB team comprised of Soldiers, Army civilians and contractors into an efficient and cohesive team able to complete all property accountability and retrograde operations.

The battalion provided mission command to the 227th Quartermaster Company, elements from the 473rd Quartermaster Company and the 173rd Fires Brigade and the 98th Maintenance Company. Those units then returned equipment from Iraq back into the Army's inventory completing the largest retrograde of equipment in the Army's history.

The unit conducted MRPAT missions that brought AMC retrograde capabilities directly to supported units. These missions resulted in the efficient redistribution of organizational and TPE valued more than $550 million throughout the Army.

The 541st also played a key role in the U.S. Equipment Transfer to Iraq Program as it managed the transfer of crucial equipment to Iraq. Additionally, the battalion also executed the War Reserve Deployment System and the Theater Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced system, maintaining accountability of more than $28 billion of equipment during the retrograde process.

In order to capture the best practices of retrograde operations the battalion re-wrote doctrinal and retrograde standard operating procedures and established the RPAT Academy to instruct Soldiers deploying to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in support of the CENTCOM Material Retrograde Element. Elements of the 541st CSSB returned to Iraq to assist the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq with recording and preparing contractor-managed equipment for shipment.

The battalion now gears up for its new mission as it will be reflagged as the 1st Sustainment Brigade Rear Detachment at Fort Riley, Kan. The unit will be responsible for providing logistical support to the "Big Red One" units while maintaining the daily support to the Fort Riley community.

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