AL ASAD, Iraq --
With units rotating in and out of Iraq on a near constant basis, transfers of authority are fairly routine. One unit assumes the role and responsibilities of their predecessors, fulfilling the mission until it is their time to return home and be replaced. However, it is uncommon for a unit from one service to assume the role that has long been held by another service.
That is exactly what happened when the Army’s 226th Area Support Group transferred authority to the Navy’s Base Command Group, July 27.
“While we’re here, our number one mission is going to be support for the warfighter,” said Navy Capt. Joseph Stuyvesant, the BCG commanding officer. “So anything from infrastructure, like water and electricity, to coordinating and contracting, and billeting.
Our job is to provide the best possible support to the Marines, Soldiers and Sailors that operate out of Al Asad.”
The BCG is taking over for Soldiers who have been on deck for a year. The BCG is a composite force made of service members drawn from commands throughout the Navy. There are even a few Soldiers sprinkled among the Sailors. The group is taking responsibility of the long-held Army position to help relieve the load on the Army and allow more Soldiers to focus on war fighting, according to Stuyvesant.
“This mission, operating a base, is not something that an area support group normally does,” explained Stuyvesant. “The Navy has certain skill sets that they are able to put forth. So the Chief of Naval Operations has gone out to look for places that the Navy can bring those skill sets and relieve some of the Army Soldiers and Marines that are working so hard and doing so many rotations.”
What the ASG has done during their deployment, and what the BCG will continue to do, has a big impact on the service members aboard Al Asad, according to Army Col. David White, the ASG commanding officer.
“Our customer is that young Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine that’s outside the wire everyday, and the things we do here are certainly a combat enhancer to that young serviceman,” said White. “That’s always been our focus.”
For their part, the Soldiers of the ASG are proud of what they have accomplished and are looking forward to some well deserved rest, according to White.
“The deployment went very well,” said White. “Early on we sat down with (3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)) and established goals that we needed to accomplish while we were here.
Everything we set, we accomplished, and we accomplished that with (2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)). It’s been a good tour for us.”
The members of the BCG are excited about getting their chance to contribute to the mission, according to Stuyvesant.
“I think all my folks are looking forward to it,” said Stuyvesant. “We went through a lot of training, and people kept focused on coming out here and doing the mission. I think we have a pretty excited group. We’re happy to be here and are looking forward to working with everybody.”