KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – In 2022, the 405th Army Field Support Brigade and its mission to operationalize U.S. Army Materiel Command’s capabilities and deliver anticipatory readiness to U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command at the tactical point of need during real-world operations were put to the test.
Consisting of four Army Field Support Battalions, seven Logistics Readiness Centers, an extensive Logistics Assistance Program, and a wide-reaching Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, as well as Base Support Operations transportation and maintenance, the 405th AFSB successfully executed all mission requirements in 2022 like never before, providing critical support to joint forces in the U.S. Army Europe and Africa Theater of Operations.
Operations in Europe in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
The 405th AFSB fully activated all of its Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 sites, and for the first time in the brigade’s APS-2 program history it was tasked with outfitting an entire armored brigade combat team deploying to Europe from the United States during a real-world, no-notice contingency mission following Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine.
All four battalions assigned to the 405th AFSB prepared and pushed out hundreds, some thousands, of APS-2 vehicles and equipment pieces from their respective APS-2 sites starting as early as February 2022, to include an entire ABCT in support of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st ABCT deploying to Germany from the U.S.
This included tracked vehicles such as the M1 Abrams main battle tank and M2 Bradley fighting vehicle, Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, Paladins, generators, Palletized Load Systems and Load Handling Systems, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, and more. A complex and challenging mission for the 405th AFSB, the equipment and vehicles were pushed from multiple APS-2 locations across Europe to Grafenwoehr, Germany, and other locations such as Poland and Romania, for reception, staging and issuance to several gaining tactical units during Equipment Configuration and Handoff Area, or ECHA, operations.
Dan Reilly, the executive director of support operations at U.S. Army Sustainment Command, talked to a large audience at the Association of the U.S. Army 2022 annual meeting and exposition about APS-2, and he used recent operations in Europe to stress the importance of the program. All five APS-2 sites in Europe under the command and control of the 405th AFSB were tapped to support NATO and EUCOM in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Reilly said the APS-2 equipment issued to 1st ABCT, 3rd Inf. Div., in 2022 was the largest issue of tanks, fighting vehicles, self-propelled howitzers and other equipment and supplies to a unit since Army forces headed to Iraq in 2003. “This has proven that APS is a huge enabler for our ability to project power – also a huge deterrence,” said Reilly.
In addition, in 2022 the 405th AFSB was tasked with supporting the Presidential Drawdown Authority mission where some APS-2 equipment sets and vehicles were sent to and placed directly in the hands of Ukrainian armed forces personnel in order to help them better defend their nation from the unprovoked, unwarranted and unjust Russian invasion.
The 405th AFSB’s Benelux Battalion assumed mission command of a U.S.-based maintenance company for nine months during 2022 as well as command and control of the Tele-Maintenance Distribution Cell-Ukraine, or TDC-U, in Poland, which is tasked with supporting the Ukrainian armed forces with some of their sustainment and maintenance needs via a secure tele-maintenance messenger chat group system and video teleconference platform with translators and subject matter experts – Logistics Assistance Representatives and Field Service Representatives – from AMC’s Life Cycle Management Commands. Presently, the 405th AFSB’s Army Field Support Battalion-Africa is tasked with command and control of the TDC-U.
In 2022, the 405th AFSB supported the EUCOM-directed, U.S. Army Europe and Africa-led DEFENDER-Europe 22 exercise, which focused on the strategic deployment of U.S.-based forces, interoperability with allied and partner nations, and employment of APS-2. DEFENDER-Europe 22 included more than 3,200 U.S. and 5,800 multi-national service members from 11 allied and partner nations conducting near simultaneous operations across Europe.
The 405th AFSB provided direct support to DEFENDER-Europe 22 by conducting forward APS-2 ECHA operations and issue of APS-2 to U.S.-based Engineer units in Slovakia and Poland, a Pennsylvania Army National Guard field artillery regiment in Lithuania, and a Colorado National Guard unit in Estonia, plus more.
For the first time ever, an entire float ribbon bridge system from the APS-2 worksite in Zutendaal, Belgium, was transported to Poland and issued to a U.S.-based Multi-Role Bridge Company deployed to Europe for DEFENDER-Europe 22. More than 150 major bridge system end items were issued to the 74th MRBC, 62nd Engineer Battalion, for the multinational training exercise at an ECHA site in Radom, Poland. This included over a dozen bridge erection boats and boat cradles, over 40 bridge bays and adapter pallets, and more than 40 bridge transporters. In addition, more than 400 other APS-2 items were issued to the bridge company – things like weapons, radios, generators and even a bulldozer, as well as thousands of repair parts, basic issue items and tools.
The ECHA site officer in charge for the MRBC APS-2 issue mission in Radom, Maj. Leonard Weschler, said he and a small team of about 50 personnel from Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim plus a handful of personnel from Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux were responsible for the ECHA operation and the issue of the bridge system.
The command and control and the contracted workforce came from AFSBn-Mannheim, said Weschler, but the quality assurance officers and accountable officer came from AFSBn-Benelux’s Zutendaal site, where the float ribbon bridge system is normally stored.
“We were able to all meet up during two separate pre deployment site surveys so we had a good relationship and mutual understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities,” Weschler said. “That was instrumental. The second PDSS allowed us to refine the previous assessment and helped ensure we were successful.”
In addition to APS-2 support to DEFENDER-Europe 2022, the 405th AFSB’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP, supported U.S. Army Europe and Africa forces throughout the exercise at about dozen sites in multiple countries with base life support and sustainment services contracts, and the 405th AFSB’s Logistics Assistance Program, or LAP, leveraged AMC Life Cycle Management Command support to multiple U.S.-based and Europe-based U.S. units at several locations across the exercise’s area of operations.
Logistics Readiness Centers and Base Support Operations
The 405th AFSB has seven Logistics Readiness Centers across Europe, each directing, managing and coordinating a variety of operations and activities for the U.S. Army Garrison they are responsible for supporting. During 2022, LRCs Rheinland-Pfalz, Wiesbaden, Stuttgart, Ansbach, Bavaria, Benelux and Italy executed installation logistics support and services to include supply, maintenance, transportation and food service management as well as clothing issue facility operations, hazardous material management, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, and non-tactical vehicle and garrison equipment management.
Base Support Operations Transportation provided back office support functions for personal property shipping, official travel services and quality control disciplinary actions for Army communities in Europe, and BASOPS Maintenance provided equipment maintenance support to garrison activities across Germany during 2022.
“Without the LRCs the garrisons they support would not be able to meet their missions to sustain their communities,” said Alex Menzies, the director of the Installation Logistics Directorate, 405th AFSB, “and BASOPS maintenance and transportation are equally important to our communities, our Soldiers and their Families.”
Logistics Assistance Representatives
Logistics Assistance Representatives assigned to AFSBn-Germany from U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, and U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command supported dozens of U.S. Army Europe and Africa units, regionally aligned forces and thousands of Soldiers across Europe in 2022.
Highly trained, 405th AFSB LARs bring more than two dozen specialty skills to Army equipment readiness requirements. They are a direct conduit between U.S. Army Europe and Africa units and AMCOM, CECOM, TACOM and JMC commodity managers and program managers. In 2022, 405th AFSB LARs executed thousands of technical assistance actions while providing real-time feedback and technical guidance to unit commanders as well as 405th AFSB and AMC leadership on actions to resolve systemic issues impacting equipment readiness.
In 2022 the 405th AFSB’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP, interfaced with all major organizations in the U.S. Army Europe and Africa Theater of Operations, setting the theater and providing real time theater sustainment through theater opening – to include reception, staging, onward-movement and integration support – sustainment, theater distribution and stability operations.
The 405th AFSB’s LOGCAP supported dozens of sites in multiple countries with hundreds of contract services and thousands of contractors providing base life support and sustainment services to the Assure and Deter mission, current operations Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, DEFENDER-Europe 22, Operation Allies Welcome in Kosovo, as well as multiple other exercises and missions both on the European continent and in Africa.
New Key Leadership in 2022
Many key leaders across the 405th AFSB’s footprint transitioned out and others into their new roles and responsibilities at the APS-2 sites, Logistics Readiness Centers, BASOPS Divisions and more in 2022. Battalion Benelux welcomed its new command team, Lt. Col. Blake Smith and Sgt. Maj. Alejandro Romar. Battalion Africa welcomed its new command team, Lt. Col. Alexander Amato and Master Sgt. John Larche. And Battalion Germany welcomed its new command team, Lt. Col. Denny Bernacki and Master Sgt. Randy Leyba.
In addition, the brigade headquarters completely changed out in 2022. Army Col. Crystal Hills took command of the 405th AFSB from Col. Brad Bane at the end of June 2022. Command Sgt. Maj. Terrell Brisentine assumed responsibility of the 405th AFSB in August 2022, Lt. Col. Michael Liles became the brigade’s executive officer, and Joseph Scheff the deputy to the commanding officer, 405th AFSB. In addition, the brigade welcomed its new operations officer, Victor Martinez, and its new support operations officer, David Luntz, among several other key and essential personnel and positions within the brigade headquarters.
The 405th AFSB’s accomplishments during 2022 were only possible due to its people – its Soldiers, civilians, local national employees and contractors – working together to complete the mission. And the 405th AFSB’s mission as we enter 2023 will remain the same – to ‘Support the Warrior!’
The 405th AFSB is assigned to ASC and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, 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 AMC materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.