ZUTENDAAL, Belgium – When a commanding general takes charge of a new organization, one of the first things he’ll do is visit all of his subordinate units and as the senior mission commander all of his areas of responsibility. But when you’re the commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and your areas of responsibility and subordinate units stretch across the entire continent of Europe, that’s not always an easy task.
Army Maj. Gen. James Smith – who took command of the 21st TSC in June – checked off two strategically important Army Prepositioned Stock-2 worksites from his task list when he and 21st TSC Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Howard visited the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s APS-2 worksites at Eygelshoven, Netherlands, and Zutendaal, Belgium, Sept. 30. The 21st TSC command team also visited U.S. Army Garrison Benelux’s newly renovated and very modern Army installation in Brunssum, Netherlands, the same day.
The 405th AFSB’s command team – Col. Brad Bane and Command Sgt. Maj. Kofie Primus – as well as USAG Benelux’s command team – Col. James Yastrzemsky and Command Sgt. Maj. Katrina Herzfeld – welcomed Smith and Howard. Leaders from the 405th AFSB’s Army Field Support Battalion Benelux and USAG Benelux provided briefings to Smith and Howard and escorted them through the two APS-2 worksites and USAG Benelux Brunssum.
Smith said it’s extremely important that he has a good situational awareness and situational understanding of the 405th AFSB’s APS-2 capabilities as well as any challenges AFSBn Benelux and its two APS-2 worksites face.
“Two things – I can understand it better, and I can be a champion for you all for the resources you need to continue on with this mission,” Smith said. “Thank you for what you are doing on a day to day basis to make sure we are ready to fight if we need to fight.”
Tiffany Mikus, the site director at the APS-2 worksite in Zutendaal, was one of many leaders who briefed Smith and Howard during their visit. Mikus held her briefing in one of maintenance bays. Behind her and a large map depicting the Zutendaal worksite, several maintenance teams could be seen working on various vehicles and trucks.
“What I briefed today was the operational aspect of the Zutendaal worksite – as far as equipment density, where we stand in current state and where we are going to be at in future state,” said Mikus. “I also discussed what we need to do to get ourselves in the right posture for end state – 2027 and beyond.
Mikus said there are currently about 6,700 pieces of equipment at the Zutendaal APS-2 worksite, enough equipment to outfit an Army sustainment brigade minus, as well as several bridge sets and more.
To house and protect all this equipment, the Zutendaal APS-2 worksite currently has 28 warehouses, said Mikus, plus 770 football fields’ worth of outdoor parking and staging – over 1,100 acres. Zutendaal is one of the largest APS-2 sites in Europe.
But what makes Zutendaal different from other APS-2 sites under the 405th AFSB’s command and control, besides the size, is the host nation workforce, according to Mikus.
“Most of our workforce is host nation (Belgians), but they are treated as U.S. direct hires. It’s not the same as having a contracted workforce or even a workforce like the APS-2 worksite at Eygelshoven where the Netherlands Minister of Defense does all the hiring actions. Here, this is all U.S. run,” Mikus said.
Patrick Strobel, the site director at the Eygelshoven APS-2 worksite, was one of the briefers during the 21st TSC command team’s visit to that site. He said one of the challenges his worksite faces is syncing mission priorities with infrastructure priorities.
To do this “we are working very closely with our USAG Benelux partners,” Strobel said.
“And we’ve been able to keep our mission priorities in focus on top of, for example, we need to empty this building out by this time and move these (equipment pieces) out so USAG Benelux or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can get in there to do this or that,” said Strobel.
“Staying nested with each other has proven to be a value added concept,” he said.
The 405th AFSB’s APS-2 program is a key component of U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s power projection and warfighter readiness missions. The 405th AFSB’s APS-2 program provides turn-key power projection packages – ready to deploy at a moment’s notice – while helping to reduce the amount of equipment needed from the deploying forces’ home stations. Combatant commanders identify their APS-2 requirements, and the 405th AFSB executes and then issues the equipment to the deploying warfighters.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st TSC, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.