By Staff Sgt. Alexander BurnettJanuary 31, 2014
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Their journey started months ago and brought them all the way to Germany to benefit U.S. soldiers and their allies. The trip is the result of coordination between multiple U.S. Army organizations and civilian contractors, and included ramps, trains, cranes and boats, but they have arrived.
The travel and security of the European Activity Set equipment from Bremerhaven Port to Grafenwoehr Training Area was coordinated and executed by the 21st Theater Sustainment Command Jan. 23-30.
This EAS equipment shipment consisted of more than 25 M1 Abrams Tanks and more than 30 M2 and M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. This equipment will allow U.S. regionally aligned forces and multinational partners in Europe to operate as the European Response Force and NATO Response Force. The EAS is comprised of equipment from around the globe that is being pre-positioned at Grafenwoehr Training Area to facilitate European Response Force and NATO Response Force training, exercises and operations, said a U.S. Army Europe release.
The tanks and fighting vehicles arrived at Bremerhaven Port on the Independence II vessel Jan. 23. The vehicles were driven off the boat and released to the care of six military police soldiers from the 21st TSC's 615th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade. The soldiers provided security for the vehicles while they were staged at Bremerhaven, monitored their transfer to rail cars and continued to provide security for them on the train to Grafenwoehr, said Sgt. Reece A. Nortum, the mission's noncommissioned officer in charge and a native of Ridgway Pennsylvania.
"Our mission was to ensure this equipment was secured all the way to Grafenwoehr," Nortum said. "We worked in shifts to make sure that we had eyes on these vehicles 24-hours a day here in Bremerhaven. We know this equipment is important to the mission here in Europe and we took the best possible care of it we could."
The soldiers from the security detail expressed their excitement and appreciation for the opportunity to take part in this mission.
"The chance to be a part of this mission is very exciting for me, especially since I am fairly new to the Army," said Pvt. Cori A. Berwanger, a military police soldier with the 615th MP Company and a native of Odessa, Fla. "I know these vehicles represent an important mission in Europe and I am honored to be one of the soldiers getting them to Graf."
Upon their arrival at the GTA railhead, the vehicles were downloaded from the train with the assistance of local national mechanics from the 21st TSC's Theater Logistics Support Center-Europe. The vehicles will also be serviced by TLSC-E personnel at the EAS motorpool to ensure they are always ready for use, said Alisa Runyan, the director of support operations for TLSC-E and a native of Paw Paw, Mich.
"This mission gives our personnel the chance to show off their skills in maintenance," Runyan said. "This is also a chance for our workforce to impact a mission that affects the whole of Europe."
The 21st TSC will continue to provide any and all logistical support to the EAS mission.
"The demonstrated enabling capabilities of the 21st TSC soldiers and civilian logistics team, from headquarters planners to forklift drivers, are helping to ensure maximum readiness in Europe by keeping the EAS stationing on track. The Army's target of Full Operational Capability by April 15 and equipment issue to the first ERF/NRF rotational training unit May 1 will enable USAREUR and NATO to meet their theater security requirements," said Maj. Gen. John R. O'Connor, the commanding general of the 21st TSC. "We will continue to provide logistical and maintenance support for this equipment in the future."