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1st Theater Sustainment Command

News Stories

Top Alabama Command Team Visits Troops Overseas

By Brent Thacker | 1st Theater Sustainment Command | February 25, 2018


Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon, the adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard, and, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Grace, senior enlisted advisor for Alabama, visited troops from the state across Kuwait, Feb. 3-5, 2018, as part of the Joint Monthly Access for Reserve Component (JMARC).

The JMARC affords senior officers and enlisted advisors the opportunity to check on their deployed troops and observe operations.
Gordon explained why the JMARC is so important to her and her mission directives.

“I’m new to the TAG position, and these units were at Fort Hood, Texas, when I was named. So they hadn’t had the opportunity to learn my philosophy and thoughts,” said Gordon. “My job is to take care of Soldiers; that’s how I see it. That’s physical readiness, education readiness, and medical readiness.”

Gordon and Grace took the opportunity to discuss their focus of readiness, but also took the time to address concerns from the troops.

“I have several units here. The 135th has a huge mission. I came to see the 115th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, ESB, at Camp Buehring,” said Gordon. “They have signal teams deployed across nine different countries, some two-man teams, providing signal support. They came out here thinking they would do tactical signal but were tasked to do strategic.”

Gordon continued speaking about her troops and their loved ones back home.

“These guys have deployed so much, particularly the 115th, and they had a message for me to take back. They just wanted to know they’re taken care of, that their families are taken care of,” said Gordon.

Gordon wanted to evaluate how her Soldiers are doing.  “I wanted to see the work environment and living conditions, said Gordon. [I also wanted to] see what their morale was ….”

Discussions focused on promotions, the noncommissioned officer evaluation system, civilian and military education, and — the running theme — readiness. Gordon and Grace stressed that things need to change for the better for the individual Soldier and the organization.

They made it a point to visit every Alabama unit. The team started with a brief overview of sustainment operations throughout the Central Command area of responsibility and a visit to the embassy. They then took a trip to Kuwait Naval Base where they toured the U.S. Army Landing Craft, Utility 2013 Churubusco.

The rest of their time was spent meeting Alabama units between Camps Arifjan and Buehring.

Grace spoke about his time in Kuwait.

“I did notice that the offices and trailer-type billeting were 100 percent better than my last time,” said Grace. “It [Camp Buehring] has better facilities than when I was here in 2003. I was impressed. It feels good to see the soldiers in moderate comfort.”

The team spent time with their troops and was able to hear other commands speak highly of the Alabama National Guard Soldiers.

“Every place I’ve been, the higher headquarters have bragged about the job they’ve done, and I’ve gotten to be the proud momma,” said Gordon. “It’s very gratifying to hear other units say the units you’re proud of are great.”

Grace also added his own words of approval of his time here.

“I was very content with the amount of time we got to spend,” said Grace. “I do not feel like it could’ve worked out any better with the time to see our units.”

The Alabama National Guard currently has four units deployed to the Central Command area of responsibility: 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 115th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 184th Engineer Company, and 208th Chemical Company. The 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command hosted Gordon and Grace.

Gordon, the first female adjutant general of Alabama, advises the governor on military affairs and commands the Alabama Army and Air National Guard and its more than 12,000 citizen Soldiers and Airmen.