The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team serves as part of U.S. European Command’s Regionally Aligned Force (RAF) for Operation Atlantic Resolve. The brigade deployed from Fort Hood, Texas, in October 2019 for a 9-month rotation to the Atlantic Resolve AOR, spanning five countries. 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment deployed to Torun, Poland, to assume the fires’ mission for Operation Atlantic Resolve. I took command of Fox Forward Support Company (FSC) on Dec. 31, 2019, and I was on a bus two days later from Poland to Germany to execute a combat training center rotation.Fox FSC supported 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment (3-16 FAR), 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), 1st Cavalry Division in Combined Resolve XIII (CBR XIII), the 13th iteration of the multinational combined exercise designed to test and exercise interoperability between partner nations. The Joint Multinational Rotational Center (JMRC) rotation was a decisive action, large-scale combat operation (LSCO), exercise split into two phases: live fire and force-on-force. 2nd ABCT faced a near-peer threat during the force-on-force portion at Hohenfels Training Area.Fox FSC had the unique challenge to support the split field artillery battalion tasked with the Atlantic Resolve mission and the JMRC rotation. 3-16 FAR had two batteries that participated in CBR XIII: Alpha Battery, and Headquarters and Headquarters Battery. Bravo Battery and Charlie Battery remained in Poland in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Fox FSC did not deploy the entire company to Germany in order to support the two batteries’ operations in Toruń, Poland. We deployed a total of 53 Soldiers from our company, which included one field maintenance team, the distribution platoon, a section of the field maintenance platoon, the field feeding section, and select members of the maintenance control section.Of the senior company leaders, the company commander, the distribution platoon leader and platoon sergeant, and the automotive maintenance technician participated in the exercise. The terrain at Hohenfels was the most challenging ever personally experienced. In addition to the difficult landscape, the weather was unforgiving and unpredictable. The average high was 30 degrees Fahrenheit and low was 22-degrees Fahrenheit. We experienced a daily mixture of rain, snow, hail and sleet that created hazardous conditions for logistics operations. The training area at Hohenfels is significantly smaller than the National Training Center (NTC), but the weather created unique challenges that made traversing one kilometer tremendously more difficult than any other training area.Logistics in LSCOLogistics is echeloned in LSCO in order to position the right commodities at the right location to provide logistics support at the right time. Supporting field artillery is unique due to distance of the position areas for artillery (PAA) from the forward line of troops (FLOT) and the wide variety of 155mm ammunition. Also unique to field artillery operations is the nonstop fires as the battalion supports the brigade during the deep and close fight, and does not conduct reorganization operations unlike the combined arms battalions (CAB). To support field artillery operations, there are several logistics nodes serving different purposes on the battlefield. Logistics nodes include the company and battery trains, combat trains command post (CTCP), unit maintenance collection point (UMCP), field trains command post (FTCP), and brigade support area (BSA). Fox FSC had requirements at every single logistics node.Battery Trains. Attached to Alpha Battery was a field maintenance team (FMT). This team was composed of self-propelled artillery and light track and wheel vehicle mechanics led by an experienced sergeant first class motor sergeant. The FMT provided direct and immediate maintenance support to the M109A6 Paladins and M992 CATs. In addition, they carried a shop stock list (SSL) container with up to 300 lines of class IX (repair parts) (CLIX), which reduced non-mission capable times on critical combat systems. The motor sergeant had several critical duties beyond general track maintenance, to include tracking tube life, SSL management, 5988-E flow to the UMCP, and report requirements to the FSC commander and maintenance technician. In addition to the FMT, one M978A4 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tank Truck (HEMTT) fuel tank was attached to Alpha Battery to provide immediate retail JP-8 fuel support. It permitted them to conduct refueling operations gun by gun, in between fire missions, that significantly reduced the amount of time the Paladins spent offline and enabled the battery to retain six Howitzers in position, ready to fire at any given time.Combat Trains Command Post. The CTCP is for the immediate resupply of commodities to the supported Batteries. The FSC commander is the CTCP officer-in-charge. The FSC transports and manages two to three days of supplies of commodities at the combat trains. The trains are composed of the distribution platoon, field maintenance section, headquarters section, and field feeding section. The equipment capabilities included the M978A4 HEMTT fuel tanker, M1075A1 Palletized Load System (PLS), and M1076 PLS trailer for mobile storage and distribution of multiclass commodities and field feeding equipment. In order to provide responsive logistics support, it is an art and science to position the correct commodities and FSC assets at the CTCP.The FSC commander is responsible for the tactical planning and execution of logistics support to the batteries. The battalion S4 (logistics) and FSC headquarters section tracks the battalion’s logistics status (LOGSTAT) report in order to issue, receive, and position the correct commodities at the CTCP. Our combat trains were co-located with the battalion tactical operations center, due to the size of the training area and speed of which the fight moved.Unit Maintenance Collection Point. The UMCP was physically located within the CTCP. The UMCP served as the consolidated maintenance area to conduct uninterrupted maintenance operations at a secure location. The HEMTT M984A4 Recovery Truck, or wrecker, and M88A2 Hercules Recovery Vehicle were positioned at the UMCP to provide recovery and lift capabilities. Important to UMCP operations were special tools, coordination of shop stock list (SSL), and common core additional stock list (CCASL) line items. The FMTs retrograded mechanically failed or battle-damaged combat systems to the UMCP to conduct maintenance as the fight moved. To support the FMTs, the field maintenance section provided the resources for the FMTs to execute maintenance. Maintenance operations were deliberate, planned, and operationalized in order to decrease the time to return combat systems back to the fight.Our largest challenge to maintenance operations arose from difficulty communicating between the FMT and the maintenance technician. To mitigate this, a manual Department of the Army form 5988-E, equipment maintenance and inspection worksheet, rotation was implemented prior to the start of the exercise. The maintenance technician sent new 5988 forms to the battery every 48 hours, which were picked up and issued by the distribution PLT. The battery, in turn, conducted maintenance activities and recorded it on their 5988s during periods of low battlefield activity. This did not allow for a quick turn on parts but did promote the long-term health of equipment as the parts needed were ordered once the maintenance tech received the 5988s.Field Trains Command Post. The field trains command post was located within the brigade support area; the purpose of the FTCP was to coordinate with the brigade support battalion (BSB) commodity managers, validate and package commodities that moved to the CTCP. The FTCP was typically overseen by the battalion S4 assistant officer-in-charge (OIC), FSC executive officer, or the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery executive officer. A battalion representative with decision-making authority must be at the FTCP. It was their responsibility to validate, request, and coordinate for commodities to be moved either to the CTCP by the FSC or throughput to the batteries by the BSB. 3-16 FAR’s S4 assistant OIC was located at the FTCP, which provided enormous value for battle tracking commodities and synchronizing with the BSB support operations (SPO) section. In addition, his solid grasp of commodities requirements and projections by platform was key to the battalion’s sustainment successes as he was able to accurately project the needs of the battalion during periods where communication broke down. A keen understanding of the various projectiles used by the battalion was crucial to maintain lethality through the transition from the defense to the offense. It’s recommended for field artillery battalions to maintain at the FTCP an individual who understands artillery ammunition and what is required of the battalion throughout all phases of the operation. Failure to accurately project and order ammunition will render a field artillery battalion ineffective.Brigade Support Area. The brigade’s commodity managers and distribution capabilities resided in the BSA. It was critical the battalion liaison synchronized with the BSB’s SPO using the brigadelogistics synchronization matrix, battalion logistics status report, and the logistics common operating picture to create a shared understanding of the battalion’s logistics requirements. A portion of the battalion’s Class V (ammunition) (CLV) supply was stored at the BSA’s ammunition transfer holding point (ATHP) for pick-up by the FSC or through put to the batteries by the BSB’s distribution company. Prior coordination must be made for bulk-to-bulk JP-8 fuel transfers to ensure the BSB’s bulk fuel assets are staged to transfer once the FSC assets arrive. Also, the battalion liaison ensures CLIX repair parts are post goods received (PGR) for timely transfer from the supply support activity (SSA) to the FSC. Our maintenance technician was located at the BSA, which made requisition and coordination of CLIX repair parts quick and effective.CLV Ammunition ManagementCLV is the most important commodity to the battalion. CLV management and planning is done at the battery, FSC, and battalion level. The distribution platoon is the field artillery battalion’s beast of burden, responsible for the transport, management and issue of CLV to the batteries. Although responsible for the mobile transportation and distribution of ammunition, the distribution platoon does not forecast or order ammunition. That responsibility lies with the battalion fire direction officer (FDO) and battalion S4 OIC, who along with the battalion S2, project what ammunition is required to engage anticipated targets. Once they are identified, the order for ammunition is sent to the FTCP based on the attack guidance established by the field artillery battalion commander.Triggers & Combat Configured Loads. Ammunition resupply from the FSC to the batteries, or from the BSA to the CTCP, were based on triggers determined through the military decisionmaking process (MDMP). The battalion staff conducted daily MDMP. They provided the FSC commander, battalion S4 OIC, the battalion FDO, and the battalion S2 OIC the planning analysis to refine, update, and determine the composition of CCLs for the next 24-96 hours. This allowed us to adjust triggers, and CCLs based on conditions generated by current and future operations. Also, the staff’s daily planning, with the battalion commander’s Intent, provided the FSC commander the flexibility and planning analysis to better anticipate triggers with the appropriate CCLs ready for movement to the batteries. With the staff’s planning, I knew which batteries were designated for the counter-fire and dynamic-fire missions in order to have CCLs ready at the CTCP and move additional CLV from the BSA’s ATHP. Additionally, this provided flexibility to anticipate and respond to changes by having the correct assets on hand at the CTCP.Forward Support Company. The 89B ammunition specialist in the FSC managed the CLV at the CTCP and kept an accurate count of all ammunition on hand. The FSC commander and distribution platoon leader ensured the ammunition was configured and ready for immediate transport to the supported batteries.Battalion. The battalion S4 officer-in-charge, battalion FDO, and battalion S2 intelligence officer were responsible for the ammunition composition requirement for the batteries based on the enemy situation template (SITEMP), planned targets, historical numbers of counter-fire, and dynamic target missions. Also, the ammunition requirement was based on the field artillery tasks, rounds per target, and rounds required at the battery, CTCP and BSA.R3SP: Rearm, Refuel, Resupply, Survey Control Point. The field artillery community uses a unique method of resupply called the R3SP. R3SP is primarily used during the initial movement of troops into the tactical assembly area after the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) process. R3SP is a deliberate and well-organized version of the supply point distribution method. It provides the initial CLV unit basic load (UBL), Class III (bulk) retail, Class I (meals ready-to-eat) and Class IV (construction) material to the batteries prior to the movement to their PAA. Batteries arrived at the R3SP location with a plan of which type and amount of ammunition was to be loaded into their M109A6 Paladins, M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles (carrier ammunition tracked), and M1074A1 PLS trucks. The battalion FDO provided the battery with the target list worksheet, which enabled batteries to properly store the correct ammunition on the correct platform to engage upcoming targets. Having communicated upcoming ammunition requirements by target to the battery enabled them to conduct responsive fires in support of the brigade’s mission.Methods of Resupply. Fox FSC conducted multiple types of resupplies based on the operational environment, troops available, mission, terrain, and enemy SITEMP. The primary methods of resupply were unit distribution, supply point distribution, and throughput from the BSB. The battalion S3 (operations) section issued the order. The battalion S4 section and the FSC commander determined the requirements based on the LOGSTAT and commodities on hand at the CTCP. Furthermore, the distribution platoon leader executed the resupply using one of the three methods of resupply, based on the operational environment and the batteries’ operation. In addition to unit and supply point distribution, the BSB was capable of executing CLV throughput to the batteries that depended on the brigade’s priority of support and battle period. During the close fight, the BSB executed multiple throughput CLV resupplies to the batteries, having cached ammunition near the PAAs. This enabled the battery to receive a quick resupply without the direct support of the FSC. It also reduced movement across the area of operations and minimized the likelihood of a convoy being detected and targeted by enemy information collection assets.Lessons LearnedThe company’s time at JMRC was invaluable to assess the company’s readiness to support 3-16 FAR’s mission. Additionally, it showed where we could think outside the box to provide the best support to the battalion. Through the combat training rotation, the company understood its areas for improvement and further development. We developed tactics, techniques, and procedures to include daily planning procedures, looking out 24-96 hours, and logistics resupplies based on triggers. In addition, we quickly learned a shared understanding of the logistics status is only achieved when leaders at all echelons remain in constant communication with one another.Commodity Management & Forecasting. The FSC must maintain Joint Capabilities Release (JCR) capabilities between the FMTs, CTCP, and the FTCP in order to track the commodity levels at each logistics node. The CTCP must maintain a live logistics common operating picture, with the commodities on hand, with the FSC and the batteries. In addition, the CTCP must communicate with the FTCP for incoming commodities and the commodities that have been resupplied to the batteries. In a high-stress environment where many individuals are sleep deprived, maintaining JCR communications, with its written record, were key for reference. We had challenges with JCR logistics communications that increased the non-mission capable time for maintenance operations and movement of commodities between the logistics nodes. We semi-successfully used our primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency plan to work through the JCR, but relied primarily on FM radio and face-to-face communications at the brigade and battalion logistics synchronization (LOGSYNC) and maintenance meetings.Communication & FSC To Battalion Staff Integration. The FSC commander must conduct LOGSYNC meetings with the battalion S4 OIC and battalion FDO, and lead the LOGSYNC meetings with the batteries. Doing so validates the batteries’ logistics requirements which allows the FSC to accurately request supplies from the BSA. Huge to success were the twice daily LOGSTAT reports which were then validated during the LOGSYNC meetings with the batteries.BSA Expectations. The brigade support battalion supported eight battalions which caused delays for 3-16 FAR to receive commodities. The BSA was often backlogged with units waiting to receive supplies and 3-16 FAR was not the priority of support or resupply. The FTCP must be engaged with the BSB’s commodity managers and distribution assets in order to receive resupplies in a timely manner. In addition, the FSC must be prepared to receive commodities; assets must be made available when the BSA is ready to issue supplies to the battalion. I was constantly engaged with the SPO, the BSB operations officer (S-3 OIC), and the distribution company commander to communicate when my assets moved to the BSA in order for the BSB to prepare for the transload of commodities and to ensure synchronization one level up.--------------------Capt. Christopher W. Kim currently serves as commander of Fox Forward Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from North Georgia College.1st Lt. Kyle D. Haddock currently serves as battalion S4 officer-in-charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California Polytechnic State University.1st Lt. Michael P. Murphy currently serves as distribution platoon leader, Fox Forward Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment. He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Arizona State University.--------------------This article was published in the July-September 2020 issue of Army Sustainment.RELATED LINKSArmy Sustainment homepageThe Current issue of Army Sustainment in pdf formatCurrent Army Sustainment Online ArticlesConnect with Army Sustainment on LinkedInConnect with Army Sustainment on Facebook