FORT STEWART – Moments after getting the 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade’s colors placed in her hands, Col. Jennifer McDonough helped case the colors.
When the colors are next unfurled, the brigade and its hundreds of soldiers, along with Col. McDonough, will be thousands of miles from Cottrell Field in Europe.
The division’s sustainment brigade, along with the division headquarters, the 2nd Armored Combat Brigade Team and the division artillery brigade, are in line for a nine-month deployment to Europe to buttress NATO’s response to Russian aggression following the invasion of Ukraine.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity we have within this brigade. We have a tremendous opportunity to set conditions for the eastern flank of Europe,” she said. “And this is the right brigade to do that.”
Col. McDonough is coming in at the tail end of deployment preparations, initiated by her predecessor, Col. David Key. Col. Key is headed to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where he will become the deputy commander of U.S. Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.
The 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade’s umbrella covers an array of support units and tasks, including a field hospital, transportation units, mechanics and more.
The brigade has been busy the last couple of years under Col. Key’s command, with two rotations to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and a command post exercise for the brigade staff to endure.
“I trust the training that we’ve gone through,” Col. Key said. “The incoming brigade commander is going to fall in on a great team that is going to go to Europe and do the things they need to do to support our division.”
The brigade likely will ship out in the next several weeks, and it has been busy over the last couple of years. It deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Spartan Shield from June 2021 to March 2022.
The brigade supported Operation Allies Refuge during its 2021-22 deployment, building up an interim staging base to help process thousands of special immigrant visa applicants and other at-risk individuals from Afghanistan. It also delivered millions of humanitarian assistance items to those in need.
The upcoming deployment will be the first for the unit with the 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade name. The brigade’s B Company of the 87th Division Sustainment Support Battalion sent 130 soldiers to Europe last year to provide support for units responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“What Col. Key has done is tremendous,” Col. McDonough said. “He has set this brigade up to be in successful in Europe and that is why I feel so confident these soldiers are ready to go.”
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