SDDC Southwest Asia forms to run theater moves.
The unfurling of the command's flag by Sgt. Maj. Robert Williamson, senior non-commissioned officer, in a formal ceremony July 1 in Ash Shuaiba, Kuwait, signaled the startup of SDDC's newest unit.
SDDC Southwest Asia is responsible for all surface deployment and distribution in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The new unit assumed the Southwest Asia responsibilities of the 598th Transportation Group, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The latter group--using a huge task force of active-duty Soldiers and Army Reservists--has been responsible for deployment and distribution surface movements in the region for the past two years. In all, the task force conducted some 527-vessel operations and moved 50-million-square feet of cargo--the equivalent of 1,036 football fields.
Formal activation of SDDC Southwest Asia began with the singing of the National Anthem by Capt. John Jenkins. The American flag was posted by soldiers from the 1174th Transportation Terminal Battalion, Fort Totten, N.Y.
"The new unit designation, SDDC Southwest Asia, reflects the fact that our work in this area of operations is conducted by a variety of active duty and Army Reserve soldiers and units," said Col. Tom Harvey, on temporary duty from his assignment as commander, 599th Transportation Group, Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii.
"It's also a joint and combined team with Navy and Air Force service members Department of the Army civilians, civilian contractors, and host nation stevedore support," said Harvey.
The majority of the core headquarters group is composed of a contingent of 40 Soldiers and civilians, along with military augmentees, from the 599th.
SDDC Southwest Asia also includes subordinate units and personnel across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility including Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.
"The new unit designation is appropriate," said Harvey, given that the real work of surface deployment and distribution in Southwest Asia will not be accomplished by the 599th Transportation Group, but rather the larger team of assigned SDDC units and individual augmentees."
The transfer of the core of a SDDC headquarters is an unprecedented action in the command's almost four-decades-old history. This is the first wartime deployment of the 599th since it was formed in 1991. The group's normal mission is command and control of SDDC ports in Okinawa, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; and Pusan, South Korea.
Following the ceremony, Harvey addressed the member and partners of SDDC Southwest Asia.
"Some day we'll track down all of the terrorists behind the 9-11 attack on the United States, and make them pay," said Harvey. "But, revenge won't be why we're doing our job today.
"We're doing our part because we know that America is a good country-a country worth defending. Those who would seek to destroy it only make us see more clearly how precious it is."
Harvey concluded the ceremony with a passage from "Henry V" by William Shakespeare: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers."
Cdr. Randall Ramian, Public Affairs Officer SDDC Southwest Asia
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|Title Annotation:||Surface Deployment and Distribution Command|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2004|
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