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Lucky 13th celebrates 47th birthday in Afghanistan

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 4:30 am

CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan — Service members from the Deputy Command of Support Operations, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan came together Sept. 24 to celebrate the 47th birthday of the 13th Sustainment Command.

Although most service members of the NATO mission were deployed individually, 136 of the U.S. soldiers come from the Fort Hood-based sustainment command.

Participants bowed their heads while one of the 13th’s officers led them in prayer, watched a short video about the unit’s history and Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters, commander of the “Lucky 13th,” made a short address before cutting the birthday cake.

“I am not here to only celebrate the heritage of the unit that some of us deployed from; I am here to celebrate the accomplishments of everyone in (the command),” said LeMasters.

“We have every service except Coast Guard within our ranks. We have 23 troop-contributing nations within (the command). You handle infrastructure, you handle network development, and you handle logistics. Our Afghan partners are getting better in logistics, they are getting better in sustaining themselves,” said LeMasters.

Following traditions of military cake cutting, the commander asked the youngest and oldest deployed 13th Sustainment soldiers, Spc. Ariel Gallarzo, an ammunition handler, and Lt. Col. Ronald Jack, the chief of the fuel and ammunition assistance team, to assist him and Command Sgt. Maj. Terry E. Parham to cut the cake with a sword.

“It was a pretty celebration; I wasn’t expecting such a good outcome,” said Shannon K. Armant Jr., the logistics noncommissioned officer in charge.

Armant has been with the unit since July 2011. He assisted with organizing the event, helped with the set-up and teardown. It is not easy to get a cake in Afghanistan, but with the help of the Camp Eggers dining facility, the unit got to celebrate with a cake that fed all attendees and bore the unit’s colors.

Deployed members of the 13th Sustainment only have just more than two months left before they reunite with the rest of the unit at Fort Hood, and if still with the unit, all should get to celebrate the unit’s 48th birthday next year stateside.

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