265th Movement Control Team small unit with a monumental task

By Air Force News on January 18, 2012

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - In March 2003, the United States military crossed the border of Kuwait into Iraq. For nearly nine years, the men and women of the U.S. military have deployed to Iraq under two banners - Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

On Dec. 18, 2011, the U.S. left Iraq in the hands of its own military and the last of American troops redeployed home. One of the last units out of Iraq was the 265th Movement Control Team, a unit responsible for coordinating the movement of personnel, vehicles, and containers out of Iraq and closing the military gateway to Kuwait and Iraq, known as the Khabari Crossing.

Staff Sgt. Eliezer Casas, 265th detachment noncommissioned officer in charge, said as the last of U.S. vehicles came through the gate, he and other soldiers, along with Kuwaiti government officials, closed the Khabari Crossing gate for the last time. According to Casas, they started receiving convoys that morning, and once the last one went through, soldiers and media there started cheering. "I have deployed to Iraq several times and to be one of the last out of Iraq and to close that gate was a great experience."

As soldiers came through the gate the unit would help them acclimate to the environment they were in, such as the rules of the road. "They needed to know they don't need to have the force protection measures like they did in Iraq," according to Capt. Michael Fullmer, detachment commander.

The unit accomplished a lot during their nine-month deployment. The unit redeployed 105 military convoys, 12,148 military personnel and 3,147 pieces of equipment.

They also processed over 4,916 convoys that included 120,232 vehicles, 198,292 personnel, and 22,024 containers. The unit provided oversight of 95 vehicle recovery missions in and out of Iraq and coordinated over 200 private security link-ups for both U.S. Army and U.S. Department of State convoys within a three-month period.

To maintain a positive working relationship during this time, the unit facilitated several key leader engagements with the Kuwait Ministry of Interior, Kuwaiti customs, Kuwait immigration, Kuwait Border Security Police and the U.S. Army.

"My troops did an outstanding job," Fullmer said, "They worked through every situation we encountered, and found solutions to any problem that arose. I am proud to say that I worked with every single one of them."

According to Fullmer, being part of the responsible drawdown of forces in Iraq was an extremely proud moment for him. "I never thought that this would be one of the historical moments I would see in my lifetime." Fullmer said helping out the people of Iraq stand on their own and pulling out of country was a proud moment for him.

The unit arrived back to Seattle-Tacoma airport around 1 a.m., Jan. 14. The terminal was bare except for a man asleep behind a counter. There was no one there to greet them as the got off their commercial flight. Media crews were not present asking for interviews. The soldiers of the 265th were not expecting a lot of commotion. They were not expecting a hero's welcome. Instead, they preferred to have a more subtle approach, to come home as quietly as they left.