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NEWS | June 27, 2022

329th Regional Support Group returns from federal active duty in Iraq, Kuwait

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

The first groups of the Virginia National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group Headquarters returned to Virginia June 17, 2022, after supporting Operation Inherent Resolve at multiple locations from Oct. 7, 2021, to June 6, 2022. The 329th’s mission was to provide mission command and base life support to four geographically dispersed locations in the OIR area of operation: Al Asad Air Base, Erbil Air Base and Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center in Iraq and Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. “There are lots of stats associated with this mission like thousands of troops supported, tons of supplies and material moved, millions of dollars of projects executed, numbers of Combat Action Badges or awards earned, but the number I'm most proud of is actually zero,” said Col. Todd Pegg, commander of the 329th RSG. “The 329th had zero Purple Hearts, breaking the trend of our predecessor units, in part due to our increased focus and efforts on improving base defenses and hardening force protection measures. Beyond keeping our own folks safe, the lasting improvements the Jamestown team made will serve countless U.S. and coalition troops well in the future." The 329th RSG command team was stationed at Al Asad Air Base and provided base command and base operating support-integrator operations. BOS-I is the cell that coordinates and secures all base life support functions and land use to include food, water, fuel, military and office supplies, new construction, equipment and personnel movement. The command team was transferred to Camp Arifjan from Nov, 23, 2021, to June 6, 2022, upon CJTF-OIR orders while continuing to provide BOS-I support to Al Asad Air Base. The unit's mission at Erbil Air Base was to support the installation commander by providing BOS-I operations. The unit's mission in Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center was to provide a commandant cell that provided BOS-I operations to the military entities on installation. The unit's mission in Camp Arifjan was to provide a commandant cell that provided support to the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve staff. Additionally, the 329th RSG provided a Soldier to the CJTF-OIR to serve as their sexual assault response coordinator. Collectively, the 329th RSG's missions included commanding assigned or attached units, supporting units and personnel as directed, providing contract requirements definition and oversight, determining base camp support requirements, supporting a 24/7 base defense operations center and overseeing base camp management and operations. “The 329th RSG excelled in this complex, non-doctrinal mission,” Pegg said. “From numerous indirect fire and unmanned aerial system attacks at the bases in Iraq, to the complexities associated with operations in the inter-agency environment of Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center and the multi-functional support to the CJTF-OIR staff in Camp Arifjan, the 329th RSG provided outstanding leadership, achieving immeasurable results to the bases they led and supported.” Collectively the 329th RSG expertly responded multiple indirect fire and unmanned aerial system attacks, Pegg said. The 329th RSG staff was focused on integrating all the key entities from initiation of the attack through post-attack recovery. “The leadership and strong abilities in process improvement were critical to the quick response to these attacks,” he said. “Personnel accountability post-attack was a top priority of the command.” Pegg said that through tenant communication, solid relationships, and diligent staff work, Al Asad Air Base, Erbil Air Base and Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center were all able to improve the personnel accountability process by gathering 100% accountability always within the Combined Joint Operational Area standard. “The quick account enabled the base commanders to focus on battle damage assessment and initiating repair plans based on the assessment,” he said. Additionally, the logistics section at Al Asad Air Base played a vital role in the recovery and safeguarding of an Improvised Multiple Rocket Launch System to further exploitation and processing and several point of impacts on the installation, Pegg said. The 329th RSG started the mission in the middle of a worldwide pandemic revolving around COVID-19. “The strong leadership and abilities to address issues involved with COVID-19 while simultaneously maintaining all other current operations at the 329th RSG locations in the CJTF-OIR area of responsibility paved the way for significant strides in improving the quality of life and mission effectiveness of units at all locations,” Pegg said. He said through a team effort of the 329th RSG, medical professionals, and unit leadership, the average vaccination rate at the four locations was over 99%, thus enabling base commanders to lift restrictions on masks, open dining facilities and opening more services on the bases while concurrently addressing periodic outbreak surges of viral variants. The commandant cell at Camp Arifjan served as the CJTF-OIR Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion providing administrative, operations, logistics, and communications support CJTF-OIR staff and coalition forces. This support included administrative, mail, system access requests, badging, providing NATO briefs, base access memos, security verification memorandums, courier orders, property passes, managing flights and ground movement for theater entry and departure, supporting communications help desk, maintaining equipment accountability of a property valued at $17 million, managing base non-tactical vehicles and supporting requests for additional NTVs through Area Support Group - Kuwait, managed base housing, contractor escorts and new project requests. The Camp Arifjan Commandant Cell successfully supported the planning and execution of the relief in place of Task Force III, and they also executed the management of the base camp management cell BOS-I sync weekly, with the 329th commander serving as the chair for the weekly syncs. Lastly, with the relocation of the 329th commander to Camp Arifjan, the commandant cell served as the RSG Headquarters, directing operations for the subordinate detachments at Al Asad Air Base, Erbil Air Base and Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center. The commandant cell at Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center served as the direct liaison between the Department of State and CJTF-OIR. They were responsible for the accountability of all Department of Defense operations and personnel, including DoD military and civilians as well as coalition forces. The commandant cell was the direct line of communication between the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center DoS management, the Regional Security Office and CJTF. As the CJTF representative for all matters involving CJTF personnel, equipment, and logistics, the commandant cell facilitated the action of all DoD requests on the installation. “The Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center team vastly improved mission command by implementing a tactical operations center environment within the commandant cell to receive, corroborate and disseminate mission-critical information to the DoS Sully Operations Center and all DoD and coalition force partners,” Pegg said. They also worked extensively with the DoS Financial Management Office, facilities and contracting to oversee contracts within Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center totaling more $113 million. The commandant cell managed, coordinated, and facilitated the force protection improvements of the only Role 3 Hospital in Iraq or Syria and the improved force protection of the medical evacuation aviation TOC and on-shift flight crew sleeping quarters. About the 329th Regional Support Group: This was the first deployment of the 329th Regional Support Group Headquarters, but the unit carries the lineage of the 54th Field Artillery Brigade. Soldiers assigned to the 54th served on federal active duty as a liaison team for military activities in Afghanistan from February 2004 to August 2005. Four 10-Soldier Logistics Military Advisory Teams from the 329th served on federal active duty from March 2009  to April 2010 where they served as mentors, coaches and advisors the Iraqi Army with professional advice on various issues relating to logistics with the goal of helping the Iraqi forces improve their ability to function independently. Constituted July 18, 1917 in the Virginia National Guard as Headquarters, 54th Field Artillery Brigade, and assigned to the 29th Division, the unit was converted and reorganized September 1, 2008, as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 329th Regional Support Group. The RSG consists of the 276th Engineer Battalion, the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the 1030th Transportation Battalion. Today, the unit deploys to provide contingency and expeditionary base operations support, with responsibilities for managing facilities, providing administrative and logistical support of Soldier services, and ensuring the security of personnel and facilities on a base camp. The RSG provides mission command of assigned units during homeland security, homeland defense, and civil support missions within the United States, to include managing the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of supporting forces.

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