MANNHEIM, Germany -- As DEFENDER-Europe 20 draws nearer, Army Prepositioned Stocks sites get a lot busier; from personnel ground guiding massive vehicles like M1 Abrams tanks to Humvees, and a laundry list of other vehicles getting tagged and tracked while being transferred to locations hours away.
APS sites will see a lot of action in the next coming months, from rail operations, line haul, and barge all supporting the efforts for DEFENDER-Europe 20, the largest U.S. deployment of troops to Europe in more than 25 years.
Lt. Col. Jason Knapp, commander of Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim, speaks on the uniqueness of one APS site, Coleman Barracks.
"Here at Coleman work site we physically receive, store, maintain, modernize, and prepare equipment for issuance to a unit that will be coming over in support of an exercise or operation," Knapp said. "We have multinodal capabilities that includes our close proximity to the Autobahn as well as a rail spur and a barge site within an hour's drive, which we can utilize for forward movement or the retrograde of equipment as needed."
Coleman Barracks has these types of specifications, however, it is one of five APS sites in Europe, each providing credible deterrence and readiness for the U.S. Army. Army Preposition Stocks are pivotal to the units deploying throughout the European theater, providing incoming rotational units access of vehicles and equipment who choose not to transport their own vehicles and equipment from home station.
The APS sites located in Europe will play a key role in aiding DEFENDER-Europe 20 planning, movements, and exercises. Around 13,000 pieces of equipment will be drawn from Army Prepositioned Stock. Coleman Barracks specifically has an entire Army Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) worth of equipment that is stored there with the capacity to house another ABCT worth of stock.
Knapp highlighted the challenging task of housing an ABCT stock size with far fewer maintainers and operators that a normal ABCT would have to manage their equipment.
"Typically the amount of equipment we have at Coleman work site would be maintained by approximately 5,000 soldiers. Those soldiers would be out there every day accounting for, maintaining, and operating on the equipment," Knapp said. "Here at Coleman work site, we do very similar activities with about 700 personnel between government personnel and contractors. For DEFENDER-Europe 20, there is an additional requirement to move the equipment out that we normally would not do as an APS site."
The movement of equipment from Coleman Barracks is the first of many moves over the next few months in support of Defender-Europe 20. Approximately 20,000 U.S. service members will utilize equipment from APS sites in order to demonstrate the ability of the U.S. military to project power globally while also enhancing the strategic readiness of the U.S. military.