‘TF Muleskinner’ passes reins: Brigade was responsible for all sustainment ops in Afghanistan

Col. Michael Lalor, left, commander, 1st Armored Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, “Task Force Muleskinner,” and Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Howard, senior enlisted adviser, 1st AD RSSB, case the brigade’s colors at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Saturday. TF Muleskinner also transferred authority to the 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, “Task Force Provider.” Photo by Master Sgt. Shelia L. Cooper, 1st RSSB Public Affairs.

Col. Michael Lalor, left, commander, 1st Armored Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, “Task Force Muleskinner,” and Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Howard, senior enlisted adviser, 1st AD RSSB, case the brigade’s colors at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Saturday. TF Muleskinner also transferred authority to the 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, “Task Force Provider.” Photo by Master Sgt. Shelia L. Cooper, 1st RSSB Public Affairs.

By Master Sgt. Shelia L. Cooper, 1st RSSB Public Affairs:

(El Paso, Texas. Nov. 9, 2017)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The 1st Armored Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade officially handed over the sustainment mission in Afghanistan to the 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade during a transfer of authority ceremony here Saturday.

During the ceremony, Task Force Muleskinner cased its colors, which marked the end of a six-month deployment, and marked the beginning of a new journey for the Task Force Provider.

“It has been a great ride for us with the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan ‘Marne’ team, and we will always be dog-faced Soldiers,” said Col. Michael Lalor, commander, 1st AD RSSB. “I know the Providers are in town and they are going to run the ball with distinction, but we truly enjoyed being your sustainment brigade, your blockers, and your protection here in Afghanistan.”

Lalor also spoke about the teamwork that helped enable the mission.

“A multi-component team if there ever was one, synchronized with enablers from across the logistics enterprise and bolstered by forward-deployed support and reach-back from the 1st TSC,” Lalor said. “Months ago here, I stood in this very spot and told you we were ready and that it was our time to help write the next chapter here, supporting security force development and counter-terrorism operations here in Afghanistan, and that we were on the clock. Well, you nailed it. You brought an aggressive, problem-solving tenacity to this distribution fight … and it is a distribution fight in this land-locked country every day. I cannot say enough of how proud I am of you and that all we accomplished as a team.”

The sustainment brigade was responsible for all sustainment operations in Afghanistan. These operations included: the Train, Advise and Assist mission, sling-load operations, postal and finance operations, fuel testing mission, legal support, and managing all classes of supply, such as fuel, water and food into and around the Combined Joint Operation Area-Afghanistan.

“To our Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and warrant officers that make TF Muleskinner what it is, I asked you to chop the wood in front of us, and work the problem,” Lalor said.  “And, did you ever.  No one could be prouder than I am. You are the engine; you made it go; you were brilliant. Nothing in this country is cooked, fueled, fired, repaired, sling loaded, retrograded, shipped, palletized or anything else without you.  And, it is my honor to be your commander.”

During Lalor’s speech, he had one thing to say to his staff.

“To our brigade staff, I’ll ride with you anywhere,” Lalor said. “I pushed, pulled, coached, prodded, and you never failed to respond and support our units. You are good, and everyone knows it. Thank you. Your next mission awaits and you can book it. Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Howard, we did it, in our own blue-collar, no frills style. Thanks for every minute of your support and rock solid leadership in support of me and this team. No one could have a better wingman than I do.”

After the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Howard, senior enlisted adviser, 1st AD RSSB, said the mission was challenging, but the Soldiers worked tirelessly.

“The deployment went better than expected given the challenging environment, especially during the fight season,” Howard said. “Our Soldiers did an outstanding job day-in and day-out, working long hours to accomplish each mission.”

Although the Soldiers are still in Afghanistan, they are all looking forward to return home, where they will reunite with their families.

Lalor had one last thing to say to his formation of Soldiers.

“Our next mission is at Fort Bliss, Texas, and to generate combat power for the 1st Armored Division,” Lalor said. “Let’s go.”