AFSBn-Germany reaches a milestone with the European Activity Set
May 19, 2014
- The Army Field Support Battalion-Germany, 405th Army Field Support Brigade, recently conducted the first equipment issue from its newly established European Activity Set to Soldiers from Fort Hood's 1st Cavalry Division.
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The Army Field Support Battalion-Germany, 405th Army Field Support Brigade, recently conducted the first equipment issue from its newly established European Activity Set to Soldiers from Fort Hood's 1st Cavalry Division.
The action initiated an Army plan to regionally align forces with geographic combatant commands around the world. Under the plan, EAS will support two eight-week European rotations for U.S.-based brigades each year. These rotational forces will help offset the inactivation of two Europe-based brigade combat teams and strengthen U.S. participation in the NATO Response Force, which is available to respond to humanitarian, and disaster relief missions as well as a variety of contingencies.
"The EAS provides a modernized, combat ready Combined Arms Battalion equipment set for designated CONUS forces to use in support of NATO operations," said Robin Dothager, the 405th AFSB's support operations chief for EAS. As part of AMC's Army Pre-positioned Stocks-2 Set, Dothager said "EAS equipment must be maintained at Army10/20 standards and be ready for issue at any time the Army directs."
EAS is one of the most modern and best maintained equipment sets in the Army, with updated versions of the M1A2 Abrams Tank and M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. "I was surprised when we all got issued pristine tanks," said Pfc. Ryan Spelick, an M1A2 Abrams Tank driver from C Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment.
"Some of this equipment is fresh out from reset [or refurbishment] and has hardly been run," said Lt. Col. William J. Shinn, Jr., commander, AFSBn-Germany.
As directed by the Department of the Army, the set also includes the M88A2s, nicknamed "HERCULES," the first time M88A2s has been assigned in the European Command. HERCULES is an acronym for Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift & Evacuation System, the primary recovery support vehicle for the M1 Abrams tank fleet, the Heavy Assault Bridge, and heavy self-propelled artillery.
Although Soldiers deploying to Europe from Fort Hood's 1st Cavalry Division attracted the lion's share of attention at Grafenwoehr, and 16th Sustainment Brigade Soldiers assisted with technical maintenance support, AFSBn-Germany was responsible for the EAS issue.
Both logisticians and senior leaders observing the operation agreed the process went off without a hitch. "The EAS issue process went very well," said Lt. Col. Carter Price, commander of the 2-5 CAV.
In some ways, AFSBn-Germany's successful equipment issue can only be described as remarkable. When the battalion first embarked on the EAS mission in October 2012, the normal and anticipated challenges of standing up an equipment set quickly morphed into a mess because of sequestration. Funding and hiring of the EAS workforce had to be postponed and coordination for EAS facilities and work space was delayed. It took exceptional amounts of hard work and energy from the battalion's small staff, together with the help and teamwork of other units and organizations within the Grafenwoehr footprint, to finally move the EAS program decisively forward, said Mike Printer, AFSBn-Germany deputy commander.
According to Printer, one of the AFSBn-Germany heroes was Curtis Dabney, the battalion logistics chief who was later promoted to Support Operations officer. When EAS equipment was dispatched by AMC from locations around the world and began arriving on the battalion's doorstep, the EAS workforce was not yet in place. Dabney coordinated with tenant units for help in downloading, receiving, inspecting and bringing to record the Class VII major end items as well 82,000 spare parts. Among many other contributions, Dabney also ratcheted up coordination to transfer three motor pools with seven buildings from USAG-Bavaria, IMCOM-Europe Headquarters and USAREUR to AFSB- Germany, Printer added.
Contributions of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and its Theater Logistics Support Center--Europe were also instrumental in the successful operation. TLSC-E placed 47 highly skilled maintenance and materiel management local national employees under the operational control of AFSBn-Germany, while the transport and security of the tanks and Bradleys from the port city of Bremerhaven to Grafenwoehr Training Area was coordinated and executed by the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. Soldiers from the 21st TSC's 615th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, and 18th Military Police Brigade, provided security while the vehicles were staged at Bremerhaven, transferred to rail cars and transported by train to Grafenwoehr.
U.S. Army Europe provided about 70 percent of the EAS equipment stocks from inactivated BCTs in Europe, and Army Sustainment Command pulled the remaining stocks from its APS sources in the U.S., Korea, Italy, Afghanistan and Kuwait except for the Abrams and Bradley's which were shipped to Europe from Fort Hood. AFSBn-Germany took accountability of the equipment, and issued the military vehicles and assorted small "basic-issue items" to the rotational force, while the 16th Sustainment Brigade also provided Soldiers technical and force protection support.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division took possession of the EAS in preparation for a two-month training period in Europe. The EAS will be used for the first time during Combined Resolve II, the largest scheduled multi-national Army exercise in Europe this year. More than 4,000 Soldiers from 13 NATO and European partner nations will take part. The CAV training will include maneuver training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, and a combined-arms live-fire training event at the Grafenwoehr Training area, and will run through July.
Stationing EAS at Grafenwoehr allows the regionally aligned force to conduct multinational level training events such as Combined Resolve II, with our NATO Allies and partner nations, Shinn said.