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Sustainers keep Nighthawks’ bellies full

Sustainers keep Nighthawks’ bellies full

Author: Master Sgt. Jeff Lowry/Monday, July 31, 2017/Categories: News

FORT POLK, La. — “An army marches on its stomach” is a quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte. 

The meaning is clear, a well-fed army is an effective army. 

Keeping the troops bellies full with meals-ready-to-eat are Indiana National Guard soldiers with the 38th Sustainment Brigade’s 138th Quartermaster Company.

“We just need to get the food to where it needs to be,” said Indiana National Sgt. Jesse Vansickle, from Clay City and a material handler with the 138th. “Any food rations, anything like that, that’s essential to the mission, we’re getting them out to the field.”

Soldiers out in the field, who are operating 24/7 day-in and day-out during the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center, agreed

“We have continuous ops going, so we have to sustain ourselves as much as possible,” said Sgt. Maj. Dennis Piercy, the 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment operations sergeant major. “You have to eat to keep your electrolytes up.”

The sustainers of the 38th and the Nighthawks of the 76th are part of an Indiana contingent that represents part of approximately 6,100 troops here for the decisive-action training at the Louisiana post.

“We mainly deal with this behind the scenes, that way the troops up front can get their chow and just make the whole Army go, basically,” said Pfc. Thomas Colson, of Greensburg and a materials handler during the exercise for the 138th.

The citizen-soldiers of the quartermaster company supplied the infantry brigade with all manner of supplies in different categories that included rations, food and water — known in U.S. Army lingo as Class I.

“Water, Class I are very important out here,” said Piercy. “It’s an extreme environment out here for these guys.”

In addition to the heat and humidity of the environment, Piercy mentioned that they also have to deal with their gear, their vests with armored plates, their hydration systems and their weapons systems. 

All these added items are equally important to keep an army effective, just like full bellies.

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