HOHENFELS, Germany (May 27, 2014) -- U.S. Soldiers participating in Combined Resolve II have benefitted from the European Activity Set, and it has helped them smoothly transition into the role of being participants in the exercise here.
The European Activity Set, or EAS, is a combined-arms, battalion-sized group of vehicles and equipment that is pre-postioned in Europe, to outfit U.S. Army Regionally Aligned Forces when they rotate into theater for training or contingency operations. The EAS is located and maintained at the U.S. Army's Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, and includes vehicle systems and equipment that would outfit a U.S. Army combined-arms battalion.
"When they come here, the equipment's here; it's ready, it's well maintained and well kept, whether they come here for a short period of time or come here and stay for a long period of time," said Brig. Gen. Walter Piatt, commander of the Joint Multinational Training Command. "But the equipment is here, the facilities are here and that's going to prove extremely valuable for the EUCOM (European Command)."
"This is the first time I've fallen in on equipment somewhere else," said Staff Sgt. Keith Durgin, with 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. "So far it's been pretty seamless. There weren't too many added steps from what we would normally have."
Soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, who used EAS, picked it up in Grafenwoehr on their way to Hohenfels.
"We got to Grafenwoehr and were there for maybe a week when we drew vehicles," said Pvt. Ian Forth, 91st Engineer Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. "We loaded them up at the line haul and we took them down here, and we've been here since then going out on missions."
Several Soldiers said that they liked the process.
"We didn't know what to expect," said Pvt. Louis Blockinger, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. "We didn't know if we were going to get here and they were going to be old or if they were even going to have the night-vision stuff. But we got here and it was brand new equipment and it was pretty cool just to jump in on it."
"Our company signed for 14 brand new tanks from the EAS draw," said Durgin. "It was pretty seamless. When we came up to them, they had everything laid out. The tanks were in really good running order. There were no issues with them when we first hopped on to them. All the BII (Basic Issue Items) and all the stuff that comes along with the tank was all brand new. The weapons were all brand new, and they had everything laid out. [It was] pretty easy for us to hop on, inventory, and sign for and go."
According to Forth, he and his fellow Soldiers were enjoying using their EAS equipment as they helped set up defensive positions.
"We were blessed," he said. "We got some real good equipment. It's working out really well and we're having our fun with it."