By Staff Sgt. April Rebecca TessmerMay 5, 2014
BAUMHOLDER, Germany (May 5, 2013) -- Soldiers and civilian employees with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's 16th Sustainment Brigade "The Knights," learned how to safely load equipment onto railway cars April 10, during training here, at Quartermaster Kaserne.
"The Knights" practiced loading and unloading equipment for transport, to prepare for Combined Resolve II, known locally as CbRII, an exercise involving 13 countries, slated to begin later this month.
"The [16th Sustainment Brigade] plays a major role in CbRII, as it is the only sustainment brigade within the whole region of Europe," said Sgt. 1st Class Juan A. Roman, a transportation management coordinator with the brigade and a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The 16th Sustainment Brigade intends to not only execute support missions to CbRII, but also develop "technical interoperability" among NATO and partner-nation forces, and support the U.S. Army's goal of building smart, adaptable and capable coalitions.
The 51 Soldiers who attended the one-day training event represented three different battalions stationed all over Germany. Among the students were Army explosive ordnance disposal technicians, mechanics and transportation specialists.
The instructors emphasized the importance of certification for rail load teams across U.S. Army Europe's operating area. The 16th Sustainment Brigade's 515th Transportation Company orchestrated the training. Platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Stephanie N. Hasenfus, a Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, native, planned and executed the railhead training course.
"Soldiers across [U.S. Army Europe] attended the training to provide critical skill sets for their units, ultimately ensuring that units can efficiently and effectively mobilize," said Hasenfus. "Units will practice equipment mobilization via railhead for the upcoming training mission (at) CbR II."
"This training contributes to a unit's operational readiness, validating that they can deploy equipment via rail," Hasenfus added. "The trained rail load teams may also be called upon to assist (1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry's) movement across Germany."
The railhead course curriculum consisted of hands-on exercises to teach Soldiers how to "block and brace," military vehicles to railcars. The class learned techniques on safely harnessing large vehicles, such as the M1097 Humvee, the M969 fuel tanker truck, the M1088 tractor truck and the the M88 tracked recovery vehicle. Rail load team members learned the differences between European and American shipping practices.
"In Europe, the railcars and tunnels are narrower, making rail loading a greater challenge for American equipment," Hasenfus said. The trainers emphasized safety and security for troops and equipment were paramount. Hasenfus also arranged for an emergency first responder class to reinforce the importance of safety.
"I'm really grateful that I could help facilitate this training," said Sgt. Matthew Phillips, a six-year veteran combat medic and one of the two instructors for the first responder class.
"Accidents happen. Having first-hand knowledge of how to treat injury is critical to mission success. Imparting medical knowledge during downtime not only helps to take care of Soldiers, but it also helps to increase mission readiness Army-wide," added Phillips, a Belleville, Ill. native.
The Soldiers will use their training as soon as late April, in support of the 16th Sustainment Brigade's 39th Movement Control Battalion to transport military vehicles from western Germany to Bavaria, in support of the CbRII exercise.
"The transport by rail is the main means to deliver over 105 pieces of equipment," said Roman, "including a containerized kitchen, 20-foot shipping containers, (tri-con modular containers), Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter tent systems and (military) vehicles."