By Brandon BeachMay 28, 2014
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (May 28, 2014) -- Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command traveled to Poland and the Baltic States last month to help facilitate the arrival of paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade scheduled to conduct multinational training activities in those countries.
The training comes at the request of the host nations in the region and takes place as the U.S. continues to demonstrate solidarity with its NATO allies by increased land force presence in Poland and the Baltic States, an enhanced exercise schedule, and increased security cooperation measures with allies in the region.
The 21st TSC, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, deployed four Soldiers from its Support Operations, Transportation Integration Branch to coordinate Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, known as RSOI, operations, alongside personnel from U.S. Army Europe, G-4 Section (Logistics).
"The USAREUR G-4 reps made sure all of the ACSA (Acquisition and Cross-Serving Agreement) contracts were in place and prior coordination with the host nations was done," said Maj. Curtis Rhymer, a 21st TSC Transportation Integration Air Section officer-in-charge, and a native of Anchorage, Alaska, who led RSOI operations in the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. "Our job was to ensure the (173rd) Soldiers and equipment got to their final destination without any delays or issues."
Rhymer was joined by Sgt. 1st Class Elijah Parker, a 21st TSC senior transportation non-commissioned officer. Parker, a native of Shreveport, La., served as the customs clearance officer during the week-long mission.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cheryl Moore, a transportation operations mobility warrant with the 21st TSC SPO, and a native of Gulfport, Miss., and Sgt. 1st Class Michael McKeller, a movement supervisor and a native of Fayetteville, N.C., led RSOI efforts in Poland, as approximately 150 U.S. paratroopers arrived at Swidwin Air Base, April 23, to begin exercises with Polish troops.
In Latvia, approximately 150 U.S. paratroopers landed at Riga International Airport, April 25. They would later board buses and travel to Adazi Training Area, a short nine-mile drive northeast of the airport, to begin land force training activities with their counterparts from the Latvian army. Making sure all personnel and equipment items were accounted for, loaded up and headed in the right direction were Rhymer and Parker, who were on the ground at Riga until the last truck of equipment departed the airport to Adazi.
From Latvia, the two-person team traveled to Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, to facilitate similar RSOI operations. Amari Air Base in Estonia would be their final stop, as they met and processed another company-sized contingent of U.S. paratroopers there, April 28.
"We were basically a traveling RSOI road show. ... Those three countries were really glad to have us," said Rhymer.