ANSBACH, Germany (July 20, 2020) – Most have not seen the Katterbach railhead in action until recently when the 21st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) and 101st Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) used it to bring in vehicles and equipment in support of Atlantic Resolve.
According to Steve Borkowski, Storck Barracks site manager and overall lead for the arrival operation, S3/5/7 Directorate, the railhead hasn’t supported an arrival of equipment this size for more than 10 years. Both 12th CAB and 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, have used it for smaller movements.
The 101st CAB, out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, deployed more than 1,800 wheeled vehicles and equipment by sea that arrived in LaRochelle, France earlier in July. Most of the containerized equipment travelled from France, by commercial line-haul, to Storck Barracks, Illesheim, according to Sgt. Maj. James W. Garrett, Support Operations SGM [SPO], 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st CAB. In coordination with U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, 21st TSC, and Deutsches Bahn (German Railroad), some containers and all the wheeled vehicles for operations at Storck were hauled by rail.
There were many moving parts with the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) in the lead to get the railhead ready for a large operation.
“Stephan Knoblauch (DPW local national) was responsible for inspection of the railroad infrastructure to ensure it is safe for the trains to use and the rails, signals, signage, and approaches to the installation to ensure the rail system was fully operational and safe to run the trains on the rail system,” said Jerry Walters, Chief Operations and Maintenance Division, DPW. “He worked closely with German rail (DB) to ensure their needs were met and we met German safety regulations regarding use of our rail system.”
Once assured the railhead would meet the standards for the deployment, S3/5/7 oversaw the coordinated efforts for the arrival of the 101st CAB rail-loaded equipment.
“We worked closely with 21st TSC to ensure we had everything they needed to conduct the operations and ensure the arrival of 101st CAB went well,” said Borkowski. “Jason Davis (S3/5/7) was the man on the ground at Katterbach ensuring operations were coordinated.”
The 21st TSC is responsible for accountability and movement of the equipment from the port to the final destination of Storck Barracks, according to 2nd Lt. Anthony Hazboun, movement control officer, 355th Movement Control Team, 39th Transportation Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st TSC.
“There were a couple bumps the first day, but we’ve corrected them and now we are in sync,” said Hazboun. “We had some concerns about the tight terrain, but with forward planning and communication everything is working very smoothly.”
The 101st CAB is deployed for nine months as a regionally allocated force supporting Atlantic Resolve focusing on strengthening bonds between allies and partners, increasing interoperability and building readiness.
“We have demonstrated that Katterbach is an exercisable area that any unit could use the rail for the same purpose,” said Garrett. “This was a unique opportunity to demonstrate (the Katterbach railhead) is a valuable asset for Germany.”