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General reflects on leading Fort Bragg's 1st Theater Sustainment Command

Maj. Gen. Darrell Williams of the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) talks about the standards during a training and leader development conference at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Aug. 12, 2014.
During his first six months in command of Fort Bragg's 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams spent fewer than three weeks in North Carolina.

But Williams, who leads one of the most widespread commands in the military, was never far from his troops.

The 1st Theater Sustainment Command has headquarters in three countries.

The soldiers, civilians and contractors who make up its 19,000-person footprint are spread over 20 countries and four time zones, not counting the United States.

It's a unique situation that has challenges unlike any other two-star command, Williams said last month.

Williams was welcomed as 1st TSC commander Jan. 31 and was overseas within a matter of days, officials said.

"It definitely is a challenge," Williams said. "I'd be less than honest if I told you that it wasn't."

The 1st Theater Sustainment Command helps equip and sustain U.S. troops across the U.S. Central Command area of operations that spans from Egypt to Kazakhstan.

Elements of the 1st TSC are in at least nine countries, according to a map provided by the command.

Other than Fort Bragg, the command has leadership in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

With the war in Afghanistan drawing down, Williams said that country remains the command's focus.

In recent weeks, other efforts have been highlighted, including the support of humanitarian missions to Iraq.

But much of what the unit does goes unheralded, which is fine by Williams, who said that means his soldiers are doing their jobs.

"I think that's a good thing," Williams said. "We take great pride in our quiet professionals in Kuwait."

Afghanistan is a huge mission, he said. But the soldiers based in Kuwait have no small task overseeing logistics throughout the rest of the Middle East, including artillery and Patriot missile units.

"Kuwait remains extraordinarily busy," Williams said. "It's always been busy, and it probably always will be."

"I think our soldiers there are every bit as motivated," Williams said. "I think they're every bit as engaged, and I think they're every bit as proud of what they do as the soldiers I see in Afghanistan."

The 1st Theater Sustainment Command has supported U.S. Army Central and U.S. Central Command since transforming from the former 1st Corps Support Command in 2006.

Since then, it has had troops constantly deployed to the Middle East, sustaining U.S. troops and leading drawdown efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its soldiers deploy for as much as nine months at a time, depending on their jobs and roles.

The command is constantly in transition, Williams said, rotating in fresh leaders and new ideas.

Williams said U.S. troops overseas have come to respect the 1st TSC for its efforts.

"I think the people we support trust the patch," he said. "I'm extremely proud of what our soldiers do day in and day out."

Williams said the 1st Theater Sustainment Command has a clear sense of priorities at each of its locations, supporting a variety of missions that include peacekeeping efforts in the Sinai.

He credited great leaders, ranging from the two one-star generals who work under the command to the noncommissioned officers in each unit.

"I watch young soldiers who are willing to place their lives on the line for our nation every day," Williams said. "They're amazing to me."

©2014 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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