By 1st Lt. Mark H. SchneiderJanuary 10, 2017
ZAGAN, Poland -- Soldiers from the 16th Sustainment Brigade received, staged, and helped move 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Iron Brigade) as they rapidly assembled their forces in tactical assembly areas in Poland the first two weeks of January.
Equipment from the Iron Brigade arrived in Europe beginning January 6 at the port of Bremerhaven, Germany, where they have been moved by convoy and train to Poland over a 10 day period. At the same time, troops began flying into Poland.
"The 16th Sustainment Brigade serves a vital role for the readiness of the regionally allocated armored brigade forces' 'heel-to-toe' rotations in Europe," said Col. Michelle M.T. Letcher, commander, 16th Sust. Bde. "We are working with the Iron Brigade to execute their speed of assembly while building combat power and readiness to maintain a dynamic security presence in Europe."
The back-to-back rotations rely on U.S. troops stationed in Europe to coordinate and move the personnel and equipment to the right locations quickly and safely.
"Having the right people in the right positions is essential for maintaining operational readiness for this rotation to Europe," said Capt. Kyle Pernelli, movement officer, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment. "The week we received notice of our rotation to Europe, we had our tanks on trains moving to the seaport."
Junior leaders from the 16th Sust. Bde., and the 3rd ABCT planned the complex movements to anticipate and mitigate logistical gaps early make sure the first American tanks to arrive in Poland were ready to operate.
"The 515th Trans. Co., 18th Combat Sust. Support Bn., distributes fuel to forces operating across Europe while supporting the reception and onward movement of the 3rd ABCT in Atlantic Resolve," said Lt. Col. Steven Dowgielewicz, commander, 39th Movement Control Bn. "We're validating transportation capacity to increase the speed that we build combat power in Europe."
Soldiers from the 16th Sust. Bde., operating throughout Germany and Poland enable the rapid deployment of this expeditionary force consisting of about 4,000 Soldiers and over 2,800 pieces of equipment.
"From receiving and accounting for the Iron Brigade Soldiers arriving to the European airports to providing them life support activities at tactical assembly areas, the 16th's Special Troops Battalion is setting the conditions to build readiness for the 3rd ABCT," said Lt. Col. Brian Ketz, commander, 16th Special Troops Bn. "Our sustainers facilitate the speed of assembly of the Iron Brigade throughout the Operation Atlantic Resolve area of operation."
Over the next nine months, the 16th Sust. Bde., will continue to support the Iron Brigade and Allies as they participate in multi-national training exercises from the Baltics to the Black Sea.