Left - Capt. William C. Brine, a resident of Bethel Park, Pa., and
currently deployed as the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)
battle major, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on July 17, 2012. (Photo by
Army Sgt. Peter Berardi) ... Right -
Capt. William C. Brine deployed as the 316th Sustainment Command
(Expeditionary) battle major, communicating with friendly elements
during a deployment to Iraq in 2004. (Courtesy Photo)
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (July 30, 2012) - Moving through the streets of
what USA Today called “Iraq's most dangerous city,” during late
2004, Capt. William C. Brine leads his infantry rifle platoon
towards a group of buildings through the cover of darkness.
Reading his map through night vision goggles to conceal his
platoon's position, he tries to determine if the buildings before
them are ones that need to be breached.
Being briefed that
the mission could be absolute hell on earth kept us on edge the
whole time, Brine remarked. Luckily the operation succeeded without
incident. We also detained several insurgents and recovered many
of sniper rifles, mortar rounds, vehicles that were modified to fire mortars
and an assortment of explosive priming devices.
That's how Brine, a resident of Bethel Park, Pa., and
currently deployed as the 316th Sustainment Command
(Expeditionary) battle major at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait,
remembers the 48-hour operation his platoon took point on to
establish a presence on the east side of the wild, wild,
west of Iraq. The city of Ramadi.
Many soldiers of
the 316th have prior deployments. During which they learned
and experienced many things, dealt with different kinds of
stressors and a lack of amenities. Lt. Col. Eric Johnson,
the 316th chief of operations, says these are some of the
things that make Brine a great asset for the 316th and its
Brine was commissioned as an
infantry officer in 2003 and sent to Korea. In August of
2004, Brine was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq as a rifle platoon
leader with the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment.
“We were on the eastern side of Ramadi in a little
outpost, a duplex that was half under construction,” said
Brine. “We occupied the thing with no sandbags or overhead
Brine and the other members of the 503rd
improved the buildings survivability themselves. Filling
sandbags, hoisting four 400-pound aircraft cargo pallet to
the roof, setting up observation posts and laying down
concertina wire were just some of the improvements.
“I put in stakes with another lieutenant around the top of
the back wall to run concertina on,” he said. “It was so hot
I was only wearing my kevlar, body armor, a t-shirt, shorts
Leadership skills along with taking a lot
of initiative and being able to read into implied tasks are
just some of the things the infantry taught him. “These
skills help the 316th ESC because the officers above me
don't have to worry about my lane. They can feel that the
SOC [Sustainment Operations Center] is properly run without
too much oversight, allowing them to focus their attention
on more important tasks,” he said.
conditions also added some unique experiences said Brine.
“We fit a whole 120 person company in the duplex,” he
said. There was a lot of ingenuity and working alongside
soldiers of all ranks to improve the survivability of the
duplex and to make it as comfortable as we could.
“Being able to communicate to all ranks and convey my points
to multiple mindsets was something I learned through that,”
he said. Working with ranks from private first class to
brigadier general in the 316th makes that skill
indispensable, he added.
The stressors that the
infantry are exposed to differ greatly from the ones the
soldiers of the 316th are currently going through said
"The day-to-day operations were a lot tougher
physically than what we are doing here,” he said. “We ran
missions that lasted anywhere from 8 to 96 hours, wearing
full gear for up to 24 hours straight was not uncommon and
neither was walking up to 20 clicks [km] to an objective.”
One day the observation post received a rocket attack.
“A vehicle pulled up right behind the back wall, opened up
its hatch back and shot a rocket at the duplex. The rocket
went right through the cinder block wall and angled up
hitting the very top of the building,” he said. “Thank god
it angled up and the wall had so much standoff from the
building, if the wall had been any closer the rocket could
have hit a soldier-filled area of the duplex.”
stresses with the 316th ESC are different,” he said, “You
are working for a product not an end state. Your not working
for the hearts and minds of the people directly but
everything that we do supports those that are, making our
mission very important and indispensable.”
very noticeable difference is the amenities available to
soldiers now as opposed to then remarked Brine.
two meals a day consisted of a meal ready to eat and a
mermite supplemented with Cup-Of-Noodles, we slept on cots
and had to build our own furniture,” he said. “We got a hand
saw, hammer, wood and nails and built our own shelves, desks
and even some self closing doors.”
“I think I only
got to call my family every four or five days and probably
only showered five times during the entire deployment,” he
“It is nice being able to sleep in a bed with
air conditioning, take a shower every night, go to the gym
and especially have the ability to call my wife whenever I
get off duty,” he added, “This is a pretty nice deployment,
emphasis on nice, bold and italicized.”
part of deploying with infantry was losing soldiers said
Brine. My battalion had several killed in action and many
more wounded. “I was real fortunate that none of my soldiers
were killed. I think it's one of my life's greatest
accomplishments, making it through a whole 12-month
deployment inside a hostile city like that and not having
anybody killed,” he added.
“I still feel it was the
most rewarding experience of my life,” he said. “Going out
there and knowing that your making a difference in peoples'
lives made me feel that I contributed to the betterment of a
On the current deployment with the 316th,
whose mission includes planning, preparing, deploying and
executing logistical sustainment operations, he said, “I
enjoy handling the daily activities from higher and lower
and making sure that our operation is running smoothly.”
“I'm very happy with where we are as a unit, looking at
where we were,” said Brine.
“The amount of growth we
went through is absolutely phenomenal, I have a lot of
confidence in our group and that's a great sign.”
By Army Sgt. Peter Berardi
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