POWIDZ, Poland - The second nine-month rotation of the Atlantic Resolve Sustainment Task Force, attached to the 16th Sustainment Brigade, is underway as the incoming rotation conducts reception, staging, onward movement, and integration into Powidz and Poznan, Poland beginning December 2017.
This incoming task force is comprised of integrated units from the regular Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard. The units have come from locations all across the United States, including: Connecticut, California, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Kansas, and Virginia.
"All three components will operate under the 16th Sustainment Brigade and will help sustain the operations within Atlantic Resolve," said Lt. Col. William Daugherty, Commander of the 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. "The culmination is arrival to Powidz, Poland, receiving our equipment, and raising our guideons. No longer are there three components, only one -- Strong Europe."
Integrating all three components of the Army in the European theater to provide sustainment functions ultimately boosts combat power generation by focusing support on the regionally allocated forces in Europe, which include the 2-1 Armored Brigade Combat Team and the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. After spending nine months supporting multi-national exercises, often featuring military forces from 10 or more countries and from sister services, the rotational sustainers will return to their home-station units as experts in their military specialties with experiences that they can draw from to teach their fellow Soldiers.
Similar to the inaugural rotation, this sustainment task force will support Atlantic Resolve by providing movement control, fuel, water, distribution, ammunition, supply, maintenance, laundry, and postal support.
"As we were preparing to deploy, we identified the need to do exercise design for a certified training event that would encapsulate the functions we would perform in Europe," said Lt. Col. Joseph Young, Commander of the 53rd Transportation Battalion (Movement Control). "After we completed our CTE, we knew there would still be a lengthy learning curve upon arrival, because you cannot entirely replicate the complexity, scope, and theater specific aspects of operating in Europe while in the United States."
After the incoming Atlantic Resolve Sustainment Task Force officially took the reins from the 497th CSSB and 330th TB in Powidz and Poznan, the task force will prepare to send out forward support elements to Lithuania and Romania. These forward support elements will provide flexible sustainment capabilities for U.S., allied, and partnered forces training in their respective areas of operation. This enables greater operational reach and freedom of movement from the Baltics to the Black Sea region.
"On any given day the 16th Sustainment Brigade's Soldiers are operating in 18 to 25 countries," said Col. Michelle K. Donahue, Commander of the 16th Sustainment Brigade. "Last year we supported 53 U.S. Army Europe exercises."
A typical distribution or sustainment mission for the recently arrived Soldiers can often entail crossing four sovereign countries' borders, all of which have different languages and use different currencies. This presents a tremendous growth opportunity for many Soldiers in the task force from the Army Reserve and National Guard who, before this rotation, may have never traveled outside of the continental United States.
"This is my first time in Europe, and I have been looking forward to this deployment," said Sgt. Khalil Scott, a National Movement Coordination Center Liaison with the 53rd Transportation Battalion. "This is a different operating environment, so it will allow me to do my job better."
With new areas of operation for the incoming task force also come new rules, regulations, and standards directed by the U.S. forces and host nations that the Soldiers must learn. These regulations include everything from the number of vehicles that constitute a convoy to the certifications required to transport hazardous material.
"We empower our junior leaders as they conduct missions across Europe," said Command Sgt. Maj. Frank M. Graham Jr., 16th Sustainment Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. "Every day we have sergeants leading convoys and working with allies, typically senior non-commissioned officer and junior officer level responsibilities."
Over the next nine months the multi-component Soldiers in the Atlantic Resolve Sustainment Task Force will be at the cutting-edge of integrated operations in the "leadership laboratory" of U.S. Army Europe.