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13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)
13th ESC Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Country USA
Branch United States Army
Service history
Active September, 1965 – present
Size 6,000 soldiers
Nickname The "Lucky" 13th
Motto “Service to the Soldier”
Colors Yellow, Blue, Scarlet
Battles Operation Iraqi Freedom
*Transition of Iraq
*Iraqi Governance
*National Resolution
Commanders LTG Richard HackGEN Johnnie E. Wilson
LTG Billy K. Solomon
MG James E. Chambers
BG Terence Hildner
Insignia 13SustainCmdDUI

The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)—the Lucky 13th—is a U.S. Army modular sustainment command which serves as a forward presence for expeditionary operations for a theater, or in support of a regional Combatant Commander. Expeditionary Sustainment Commands (ESC) synchronize distribution of supplies and services within their operational areas and provides distribution oversight. Formed at Fort Hood, Texas when the 1st Logistics Command deployed to Vietnam, the-then 13th Support Brigade was initially responsible for the training of technical services units to assume combat service support missions in Southeast Asia.[1] As the Army redefined the missions of its logistics forces in response to building towards a 16-Division Army[2] it was designated a Corps Support Command (COSCOM). In 1992 the 13th COSCOM deployed to Somalia as part of OPERATION RESTORE HOPE where for the first time a COSCOM was given the mission to provide theater-level support in a major U.S. operation.[3] The 13th ESC has deployed to Iraq and served as the logistics command for hurricane relief efforts in support of the American people after hurricanes Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita devastated the Gulf Coast.


The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) was constituted on August 11, 1965 in the Regular Army, and activated September 24, 1965 at Fort Hood, Texas as the 13th Support Brigade. The 13th Support Brigade was formed as the nation's involvement in Vietnam increased, and was tasked with the training of technical services units to assume combat service support missions in Southeast Asia.[1] With reorganization from the technical service concept to the Combat Service to the Army concept, functional training of units was decentralized in the Continental Army Command to post, camp and station level.[4]

The command continued to evolve due to increased missions and changing roles, and, along with similar units, was redesignated as 13th Corps Support Command (COSCOM) on June 21, 1975,[5] and then the 13th Support Command (Corps) in October 16, 1980.[6] As part of Army Transformation, it was reflagged to its current configuration as the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) during a formal ceremony on 23 February 2006.[7]


The crest was originally approved for the 13th Support Brigade on 11 August 1966, and re-designated for the 13th Corps Support Command, effective 13 May 1975. The 13th COSCOM retained the crest, shoulder patch and lineage as it redesignated to a sustainment command.

The crest is a yellow octagon with a ⅛ inch blue border 2½ inches in height overall, a scarlet saltier throughout surmounted by a blue star of thirteen points fimbriate in yellow.

The octagon reinforced by the saltier refers to the unit's mission of supporting the combat, combat support and combat service support organizations of the Corps. The star symbolizes the many far reaching missions of the command, and having thirteen points, the star also alludes to its numerical designation. The octagon is a symbol of regeneration; it alludes to the combat service support functions of the unit as constantly renewing the strength and vigor of the Corps.

Yellow (substituted for Quartermaster buff) alludes to the supply and service functions of the command. Scarlet (substituted for Ordnance crimson and Transportation brick red) alludes to the maintenance and transportation functions of the command. The blue represents other support rendered by the command. This combination identifies the colors which are used in the flags of combat service support organizations.

Earthquake relief, Managua, NicaraguaEdit

Soldiers of the 13th ESC first deployed to support the Managua earthquake in Nicaragua, to assist in disaster relief from 23 December 1972 to 19 January 1973, of the then 13th Support Brigade with its soldiers serving at Camp Christine, Managua, Nicaragua.

Units deployed included

  • 21st Evacuation Hospital
  • 255 Medical Detachment
  • 528th Trans Co (-)

Desert StormEdit

Though the headquarters did not deploy to Shield and Desert Storm, units from the 13th COSCOM began to deploy in the fall of 1990 to Saudi Arabia to provide combat support and combat service support during the Gulf War. During Operation Desert Calm and Operation Provide Comfort, soldiers of the 13th ESC deployed to the Persian Gulf area. In 1992, 13th COSCOM soldiers deployed to Cuba to aid Haitian refugees during Operation Safe Harbor, and later assisted victims of Hurricane Andrew in Florida. 13th ESC soldiers led the way as III Corps units deployed to Kuwait to train and ensure the peace in support of Operation Intrinsic Action.

Operation Restore HopeEdit

In 1992, the U.S. Central Command established Unified Task Force Somalia (UNITAF) in light of the worsening situation in Somalia and 13th COSCOM was called to duty. 13th COSCOM Commander Brig. Gen. Billy K. Solomon deployed along with a portion of the 13th COSCOM headquarters to Mogadishu to serve as the nucleus of Joint Task Force Support Command, the first time where a COSCOM was given the mission to provide theater-level support.[3] Soldiers of the Lucky 13th returned in May 1993.[8]

Their major units included:

593d Corps Support Group (Fort Lewis)
36th Engineer Group (Fort Benning)
7th Transportation Group (Fort Eustis)
62d Medical Group (Fort Lewis)

Humanitarian aide and PeacekeepingEdit

From October through December 1994, 13th COSCOM soldiers provided multifunctional logistical support to Army Forces supporting Operation Vigilant Warrior in Kuwait. Units of the 13th COSCOM conducted humanitarian and/or peacekeeping missions in Cuba as part of Operation Sea Signal V, Haiti Operation Uphold Democracy, Honduras JTF-B, Operation Strong Support, and were a part of Stabilization Force (SFOR) 6 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 13th COSCOM also deployed their engineers to Thule, Greenland, for additional support missions.

Soldiers from the command have responded to the call to lend a hand, whether it was removing snow in Massachusetts, aiding flood victims in $3, processing refugees in Arkansas, fighting forest fires in Montana, assisting earthquake victims in Mexico or helping flood victims in Curio, Texas.

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon, elements of the 13th COSCOM supported Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Operation Iraqi FreedomEdit

Operation Iraqi Freedom again saw 13th COSCOM units deployed including 64th Corps Support Group directly supporting the 4th Infantry Division. Elements of the 49th Movement Control Battalion have been continuously deployed in the region since 1997 and remain a critical node supporting all U.S. and coalition forces.

13th COSCOM first deployed a Medical Evacuation Headquarters and an Air Evacuation Company on 12 February 2003, to Kuwait. Those units were to reposition forces as required to support the president’s global war on terrorism. Eventually, the 13th COSCOM deployed both of its local Brigades in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom while the Headquarters and separate units supported the families at Fort Hood, Texas.

In August 2003 deployment notification came for the soldiers of the 13th COSCOM headquarters to participate in the ongoing operations in Iraq. In preparation for its first major deployment since Somalia, The 13th COSCOM colors were cased in a deployment and retreat ceremony held on the afternoon of 18 December 2004, at Sadowski Field on Fort Hood.


CAMPAIGN: TRANSITION OF IRAQ - May 2, 2003 TO June 28, 2004 CAMPAIGN: IRAQI GOVERNANCE - June 29, 2004 TO December 15, 2005 On 31 January 2004, the 13th COSCOM completed a transfer of authority with the 3rd Corps Support Command (COSCOM) at Logistics Support Area (LSA) Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, and assumed responsibility to provide logistics support to Combined Joint Task Force 7 in Iraq, later redesignated as the Multi-National Corps Iraq (MNC-I).

Major units serving with the 13th COSCOM for OIF II were:

On 12 December 2004, the 13th COSCOM transferred authority to the 1st Corps Support Command. During its time at LSA Anaconda, the 13th COSCOM processed 2,000 tons of mail; averaged over 200 convoys a day for a total of 62,000 convoys involving 750,000 vehicles; and was responsible for quality of life improvements for the joint forces. The 13th COSCOM uncased its colors signifying its return home and the end of its mission, at Fort Hood, Texas, on 21 January 2005.[9]

OIF 06-08Edit

CAMPAIGN: NATIONAL RESOLUTION - December 16, 2005 to January 9, 2007 CAMPAIGN: IRAQI SURGE – January 10, 2007 to December 31, 2008

The 13th, under its new designation as a Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) deployed once again to Logistics Support Area Anaconda in August, 2006. The command provided logistics oversight for the entire Iraq theater, and assumed command and control of seven subordinate brigades, which included:

During OIF 06-08, the 13th ESC provided key logistical support to the Iraq War troop surge of 2007, and facilitated the movement and training of the additional 20,000 troops through Camp Buehring, Kuwait. The 13th ESC redeployed to Fort Hood in August, 2007, and quickly started training and preparations for their deployment in support of OIF 09-11.

OIF 09-11Edit

CAMPAIGN: IRAQI SOVEREIGNTY – January 1, 2009 to August 31, 2010

The command headquarters again deployed to the former LSA Anaconda, now under Air Force Control under the redesignation of Joint Base Balad on 17 July 2009, and assumed the mission for theater logistics on August 7.[10] The 13th ESC was faced with the largest movement of American forces and military equipment in more than 40 years to facilitate a responsible withdrawal from the Iraq theater of operation. Over the course of a year-long deployment, the 13th ESC brought more than $1 billion worth of equipment back into the U.S. Army supply system.

During an average day for the 13th ESC in OIF 09-11, they issued 96,000 cases of bottled water, 1.6 million US gallons (6,100 m3) of fuel, and delivered 137 tons of mail.

Some of the major accomplishments of the 13th ESC during OIF 09-11 included: signing a $31 million contract with a local Iraqi company to conduct container repair, opening the first Iraqi bank on Joint Base Balad, partnering with the Iraqi Transportation Network to get American trucks off the road, and Operation Clean Sweep, a comprehensive assault on excess throughout the entire area of operation.

Six Soldiers in the command lost their lives in support of OIF 09-11. They are: PFC Taylor Marks, SGT Earl Werner, SPC Paul Andersen, SPC Joseph Gallegos, SGT William Spencer and MAJ Ronald Culver.

Hurricane KatrinaEdit

Deep in the process of deploying and redeploying 13th COSCOM units, key elements of 13th COSCOM were called into action in support of Joint Task Force Katrina/Rita hurricane relief efforts in the summer of 2005.[11] 13th COSCOM provided 100 million rations, collected human remains with dignity, executed emergency engineering operations, transported, distributed and stored over one billion dollars in humanitarian relief from both non-governmental and federal sources from across the nation.[12]

Numbering nearly 1,000 soldiers at the height of operations, the command and staff of the 13th COSCOM formed Logistics Task Force Lonestar, composed of several different units from the support command. Soldiers representing transportation companies, medical and engineer units, maintenance groups and others worked to bring stability back to the storm-ravaged city of New Orleans and, after Hurricane Rita came ashore, close to Lake Charles, La.

With a humanitarian support mission for the people of New Orleans, the Task Force performed logistical missions from purifying water to providing engineer support to help clean up the streets in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Joint Task Force Katrina. Working in sometimes difficult conditions, the task force was able to accomplish many tasks during their deployment including offering remedies to supply flow issues and establishing a donation distribution warehouse.[13]

  • HHC, 13th COSCOM
  • Special Troops Battalion
  • 49th Transportation Battalion
  • 4th Corps Material Management Center

Operation Enduring FreedomEdit

The 13th ESC command group and portions of HHC deployed to Afghanistan in early December 2011 as augmentees to the NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan.[14] On 4 February 2012, BG Terence Hildner, Commander 13th ESC died of natural causes in Afghanistan. He is the highest-ranking officer to die in Afghanistan.[15]

Current activitiesEdit

The 13th COSCOM became the first COSCOM to transform to a Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and deploy to combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08.The command’s primary mission is to provide combat support and combat service support in the areas of supply, maintenance, movement control, field services, and general engineering & construction.

At Fort Hood, the 13th ESC currently has the specific missions of:

  • Providing command and control of all assigned and attached units.
  • Providing Combat Service Support to Fort Hood units through:
  • Direct Support Maintenance to non-divisional units
  • General Support maintenance and back up direct support maintenance to the 1st Cavalry Division ** Support to additional installation activities and functions, as directed.


Leveraging Sustainment Organizations in CONUS West duties involve coordination with all Sustainment Brigades, Support Brigades, and Army Field Support Brigades in the Continental United States, West of the Mississippi river.

These Brigades are:

Current LeadershipEdit

Command Group:


13th US Sustainment Command

OrBat 13th Sustainment Command

Currently, the 13th ESC is Fort Hood's third largest unit with a local strength of almost 6,000 soldiers. It is composed of various battalions and detachments:

Previous leadersEdit

  • Former Commanders
  1. COL Orval Q. Matteson
  2. COL Paul F. Roberts
  3. COL Wesson
  4. COL Chris W. Stevens
  5. COL (MG) William T. McLean
  6. COL (MG) Leo A. Brooks, Sr.
  7. COL Tipton
  8. COL (BG) William Fedorochko
  9. COL (GEN) Johnnie E. Wilson
  10. COL Brown
  11. COL Stirling
  12. BG (LTG) Billy K. Solomon
  13. BG (LTG) Charles S. Mahan, Jr.
  14. BG Thomas R. Dickinson
  15. BG (LTG) Richard A. Hack
  16. BG (MG) Jeanette K. Edmunds
  17. BG (MG) William M. Lenaers
  18. BG (MG) James E. Chambers
  19. BG (MG) Michael J. Terry
  20. BG Paul L. Wentz
  21. BG Terence Hildner[15]
  • Former Sergeants Major
  1. SGM Joseph Cocharan
  2. SGM John Mitchell
  3. SGM Paul Quesenberry
  4. CSM Thomas J. Carruthers
  5. CSM George W. Layne
  6. CSM Louis Robison
  7. CSM Donald Horn
  8. CSM Joseph R. Bufford, Jr.
  9. CSM Sullivan
  10. CSM Pollan
  11. CSM Emmett Maylone
  12. CSM Donald W. Tucker
  13. CSM Joshua Hooper
  14. CSM Timothy O. Bowers
  15. CSM Daniel K. Elder
  16. CSM Terry Fountain
  17. CSM Mark D. Joseph

External linksEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 VIETNAM STUDIES: Logistic Support, pg 177
  2. Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1975, Ch VIII
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joint logistics at the operational level--Where are we at and where are we going?, pg 41
  4. VIETNAM STUDIES: Logistic Support, pg 30
  5. Lineage and Honors Certificate
  6. Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1980, pg 13
  7. 13th COSCOM becomes the 13th Sustainment Command
  8. Operation Restore Hope, pg 19
  10. 13th ESC Takes Charge
  11. Soldiers from 13th COSCOM deploy to storm-ravaged city
  12. 13th COSCOM Support of Task Force Katrina
  13. Final 13th COSCOM soldiers back from relief operations in Louisiana
  14. "13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Troops Deploy". KCENTV. KCENTV. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "U.S. brigadier general dies in Afghanistan". Retrieved 5 February 2012. 

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