CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait –
The 35th Engineer Brigade (Muleskinner), Missouri Army National Guard, marked the end of its nine-month Middle East deployment Aug. 16 during a transfer of authority ceremony in which the unit turned over the mission of Task Force Spartan engineer brigade headquarters to the 20th Engineer Brigade (Castle), XVIII Airborne Corps.
The outgoing brigade commander and command sergeant major, Col. Anthony Adrian and Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuenkel, respectively, cased the 35th’s colors as the incoming command team, Col. Patrick Sullivan and Command Sgt. Maj. John Brennan, unfurled the 20th’s flag, signifying receipt of the mission. Adrian thanked the Soldiers of the brigade’s elements – the 35th Brigade headquarters and the 505th, 458th and 983rd Engineer Battalions – for their hard work and dedication.
“Muleskinners, I couldn’t be more proud of the job you have done. Your relentless energy and drive and commitment to excellence has been amazing to behold,” Adrian said. “Through this energy and commitment you have shaped and transformed engineer operations across an entire theater and I’m extremely proud and honored to have been a part of this exceptional team.”
As the engineering element of Task Force Spartan, the 35th’s units in theater are tasked with a variety of engineering projects across the greater Levant region. These include building or improving roads on bases, physical security improvements and construction projects to improve troop housing and work spaces. Unit leaders have also focused on improving implementation of construction project priority lists and request-for-support procedures associated with those projects. The unit has increased interoperability with partner nation militaries through subject matter expert exchanges, seminars and training events.
“We’ve built some great positive and productive relationships across the theater that will last far beyond this deployment,” Adrian said.
He said the 35th leaves the engineering mission in the capable hands of their 20th Engineer Brigade counterparts. A seamless transition by the 20th as the command element for the task force’s engineering assets ensures construction projects and training events will continue as planned.
Sullivan characterized his soldiers as “tough, humble, enterprising and ready experts.” He pledged to continue the legacy begun by the Muleskinner Soldiers.
“To offer a sports analogy, it is fitting to describe this mission as an engineer brigade’s Super Bowl,” Sullivan said. “There is no more important game that we could be playing, nor one with greater consequence and potential reward. That we are the first active-duty engineer brigade to play is a blessing indeed, and reflects a confidence from the collective FORSCOM [Army Forces Command], XVIII Airborne Corps and Engineer Regimental leadership that I humbly accept.”
The Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, currently serves as the division headquarters element of the task force. Through Operation Spartan Shield, Task Force Spartan maintains a U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia sufficient to strengthen our defense relationships and build partner capacity.