By Sgt. 1st Class John ZumerApril 1, 2017
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania - Technology may connect the world with amazing speed these days, but when it comes to moving equipment and personnel from one side of the globe to the other, long weeks are often still involved. The arrival of the cargo ship "Liberty Passion" to the Romanian port of Constanta on March 31 ended a lengthy ocean journey that saw approximately 250 pieces of equipment and vehicles being delivered to a rotational combat sustainment support battalion entrusted with supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve.
U.S. Armed Forces are serving in Romania as part of OAR, a multi-nation effort between the U.S. and her Allies and partners to enhance regional stability, foster peaceful relations among nations and to deter aggression throughout Eastern Europe.
The active duty, U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard units that will perform CSSB tasks will largely serve under the 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command. The Romanian-based units will provide postal, military police, ammunition handling, movement, and other logistical support.
"This will help sustain all other forces in the region," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Harrison Brewer, a transportation coordinator with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.
Soldiers designated as drivers and equipment handlers had traveled a short distance via bus from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, where they had been staying, to the port at Constanta. According to Brewer, however, the smooth operations at the port were hardly the result of luck or chance.
"You have a lot of meetings and prep beforehand to make all the pieces come together," he said.
After vehicles were offloaded from the ship in an orderly fashion under clear, cool skies, they were staged into medium-sized groups. The vehicles then made their way to MK Air Base via convoy, where they will await dispersal to other locations and upcoming missions around Romania and Eastern Europe.
For U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jason Alvis, commander of the 839th Transportation Battalion (SDDC), there were larger issues involved than simply unloading a single ship and its cargo.
"It was important to ensure we could discharge this vessel in the timeframe specified by Lt. Gen. Hodges (U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges) and successfully meet the speed of assembly needed to bring personnel and equipment together," he said.
Alvis thought the downloading activities at the port were orderly and efficient, and echoed the sentiments of Brewer by noting the mission came to fruition only through multiple rehearsals and planning conferences over the previous months. The ultimate success of the evening's long mission at the port, however, was hardly a one-man show.
"It was truly a team effort," said Alvis.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.