YANBU, Saudi Arabia -- Soldiers deployed to support the 1st Theater Sustainment Command conducted port operations at Saudi’s King Fahd Industrial Port at Yanbu, April 19-26, 2021 as part of Logistics Exercise 21 (LOGEX).
The combined effort to support the exercise included the 101st Division Sustainment Brigade; 595th Transportation Bde.; 1stst Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Bde. Combat Team, 1st Armored Division; and mission partners from the Saudi armed forces.
The purpose of LOGEX 21 was to demonstrate the 1st TSC’s readiness and ability to provide responsive support to U.S. and partner nation forces from anywhere in the U.S. Central Command theater, exercising the Trans-Arabian Network.
“The 595th produces lethality, which means we produce capabilities within the CENTCOM area of operations in order to meet unit requirements and needs. We primarily do this through vessel operations,” said Col. Michael Ludwick, commander of the 595th Trans. Bde.
The Trans-Arabian Network is a network of nodes, modes and routes providing freedom of movement to support contingency operations, U.S. Government strategic objectives, and enables Partner Nation collaboration. It consists of 10 countries within the Arabian Peninsula and encompasses countries in both U.S. European Command and USCENTCOM areas of responsibility.
“This mission is specifically to test the TAN, or Trans- Arabian Network. Our ability to move our equipment into theater quickly in case there is a threat that could shut down the Persian Gulf is imperative,” said Capt. Shayna Taylor, officer in charge of port support element, 1st Bn., 35th Armored Regt., 2nd BCT, 1st Armored Div. “This way we know we can still move equipment into theater to respond to any threats.”
The equipment for the exercise was transported to the King Fahd Industrial Port in Yanbu on the Liberty Peace cargo vessel. Hundreds of pieces of equipment and vehicles were offloaded from the ship, staged and loaded onto contracted trucks for transport to Camp Buehring, Kuwait. The entire operation at the port took about a week.
“This is our first-time downloading equipment off of a vessel, usually we do rail operations in the United States. So, it’s a great opportunity for our drivers to show their mastery and their skill set,” said Taylor.
The mission at Yanbu was completed due to the hard work of the Soldiers and the partnership that the 595th TB and the 1st TSC established with the kingdom’s military. The partnership included the Saudi Ports Authority, Border Guards, and Royal Saudi Land, Naval and Air Forces.
“There is a mix of support,” said Capt. Seth Anderson, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 840th Trans. Bn. Anderson explained that U.S. military personnel handled all of the tracked vehicles, tanks and M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and our Saudi partners handled all of the wheeled vehicles through contracted services.
“In addition to the downloading of equipment, we are here to develop and enhance the partner relationships with the Saudi government and mission partners,” said Ludwick.
Maintaining the readiness of the command to ensure continuity of sustainment operations in theater is a constant objective for the 1st TSC.