EYGELSHOVEN, Netherlands — The U.S. Army and its allies must be ready at all times for whatever challenges may arise, and that includes having the necessary equipment. Army Prepositioned Stock — 2 facilities have been a key element of that readiness in Europe since the early days of the Cold War, storing ready-to-deploy military vehicles and equipment at sites in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Since 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District has been working with the 405th Army Field Support Brigade and U.S. Army Garrison Benelux to renovate and modernize these facilities in support of that mission of readiness.
“We’ve worked closely with our partners in the 405th AFSB and Installation Management Command to design and carry out more than $300 million in modernization and facility improvements to date since the current program started in 2017,” said Europe District Regional Program Manager Jeremy Allen. “Modernizing these sites is part of ensuring the U.S. is ready to effectively support and defend its allies in Europe if need be and it’s exciting to be a part of that important mission.”
Spread over five sites in four countries, APS-2 includes sites with vehicle and equipment storage as well as administrative, maintenance and other support facilities. The three sites associated with U.S. Army Garrison Benelux where extensive modernization efforts are underway are in Dülmen, Germany, Zutendaal, Belgium and in Eygelshoven.
The two additional APS sites in Europe are in Mannheim, Germany and Livorno, Italy. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also working with the 405th AFSB and Polish partners to construct a new APS-2 site in Powidz, Poland, as well. APS-2 is one of seven similar Army Prepositioned Stock operations throughout the world and is the primary APS operation standing ready in the European theater. The facilities regularly feature heavily in international military exercises.
Earlier this year, following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, all five APS-2 sites were fully activated with equipment sent forward to U.S. forces to augment command and control, life support and sustainment capabilities in Eastern Europe. This included vehicles and other equipment sent to Grafenwoehr to support the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division that deployed to Germany from Fort Stewart, Georgia.
In addition to some of the sites storing an armored brigade combat team’s worth of equipment or a sustainment brigade, the sites are used to store equipment needed for engineer, artillery, military police, general mission sustainment and medical capabilities.
The Eygelshoven site was re-activated in 2016 and the Zutendaal site in 2017 after both saw decades of limited operations. The Dülmen site was turned over to the U.S. Army in 2016 after having been used for years by British forces as a supply depot.
“The facilities at Zutendaal and Eygelshoven had been closed or mothballed for many years and during those years nature took its course and some facility degradation took place,” said Brigade Engineer Earl Ward of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade. “The ongoing facility modernization is to improve the existing storage and warehouse, supply, maintenance, administrative, maintenance and other mission support facilities to meet current U.S. and host nation building standards as well as Army Prepositioned Stock mission requirements.”
Ward also noted that the Dülmen site needed different kinds of improvements to pivot to supporting the APS mission from its past use primarily as a traditional supply depot.
Zutendaal is one the largest APS-2 facilities with modernization efforts being key to plans to expand operations from 15 warehouses to 23 modernized warehouses by the end of 2023.
Dülmen and Eygelshoven have more than 1 million square feet of climate-controlled storage in their warehouses where modernization has been completed, or is underway or in design.
Combined, the three sites have more than 250,000 square feet of hardstand storage for vehicles as well.
Additionally, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz is planning for more than $700 million in future modernization projects at the APS-2 site in Mannheim, which are being coordinated closely with the 405th AFSB, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other partners.
The ongoing modernization and renovation efforts at the three U.S. Army Garrison Benelux sites vary from building to building, but largely focus on bringing many of the dozens of warehouses and associated support facilities dating from the Cold War era to modern standards. In some cases, particularly for larger vehicle storage warehouses, the work involves modernizing and renovating older style warehouses that previously just provided basic shelter from the elements. Crews have also been bringing modern network connectivity to administrative and other facilities to bring workplaces to modern standards.
In addition to basic renovations and upgrades to those facilities, Ward noted that other examples of overall site improvements that are part of the larger program include security upgrades, rail improvements and overall utilities infrastructure.
At vehicle storage and maintenance facilities, the modernization also includes incorporating equipment like trickle battery chargers, climate control and other features to extend the life and reliability of the important military trucks, transports and other vehicles stored and maintained at the facilities between deployments and exercises.
“Storing the equipment in a controlled humidity warehouses versus outdoors or in a non-controlled humidity warehouse reduces the maintenance requirements for the equipment from a two-year cycle to a four-year cycle,” Ward said. “And the warehouse battery maintenance systems use technology that greatly extends the life of the batteries reducing battery replacement and labor costs.”
While all five sites are fully operational now, the facilities improvement program is expected to continue through the next few years — with the intent being for these modernized facilities to remain operational and ready for years to come.