MANNHEIM, Germany – The battalion that made history last year when it issued an entire Armored Brigade Combat Team’s worth of Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 equipment to a U.S.-based ABCT from the 3rd Infantry Division following Russia’s unjust and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine changed leadership June 26.
Army Lt. Col. Omar McKen assumed command of Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim from Lt. Col. Brian Astwood during a change of command ceremony at the Coleman APS-2 worksite in Mannheim. The 405th Army Field Support Brigade commander, Col. Crystal Hills, officiated the ceremony and provided guest remarks.
Astwood, who served as the commander of AFSBn-Mannheim for two years and led his team in issuing over 5,000 pieces of APS-2 equipment to include hundreds of M1 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley fighting vehicles, will next report to Hawaii where he will be assigned to the 25th Infantry Division and serve as the support operations officer. Astwood is also promotable so it’s expected he will soon be promoted to colonel.
McKen comes to AFSBn-Mannheim from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command where he served as the deputy for Operational Contract Support. Some of McKen’s other recent assignments include support operations officer and executive officer at the 189th Combat Service Support Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, and joint logistics officer to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense, U.S. Army Security Assistance Support Activity.
During her ceremonial remarks, Hills said the path to success is not always obvious, and the final destination may be unknown, but through strong leadership and dedicated service the Army will succeed.
“We count on our Leaders to chart our paths in uncertain times,” Hills said. “As the U.S. Army engages and supports our allies and partners during the first major conflict in the European Theater since World War II, this continuity of leadership becomes even more invaluable.”
“I’d like to express my personal gratitude to Lieutenant Colonel Astwood. I know his time here has been full of unique challenges, and I applaud his dedication to duty,” said Hills. “Lieutenant Colonel Omar McKen has a tough act to follow, but I know he is capable of the task. He is ready for this assignment, and we are ready for him.”
“Lieutenant Colonel McKen, there are still many more challenges here at Mannheim to face and even more at the U.S. Army’s newest and the largest APS-2 worksite in world located at Powidz, Poland, which you will assume mission command of very soon,” Hills added.
Astwood said during his last two years in command of AFSBn-Mannheim he’s been nothing but astounded by the tremendous effort executing so many challenging missions and operations.
“It all comes down to the people who make up this amazing organization,” said Astwood. “There are too many DA civilians, officers, warrant officers and NCOs to thank individually but know that I appreciate all of you for making AFSBn-Mannheim successful.”
The 405th AFSB’s Mannheim battalion is charged with receiving, maintaining, storing and issuing Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 at the Coleman APS-2 worksite, which is located on a former Army airfield. In August 2021, U.S. Army Europe and Africa announced that it will retain the Coleman worksite, which was previously scheduled to be returned to the German government.
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. APS-2 sites like Coleman help reduce deployment timelines, improve deterrence capabilities and provide additional combat power for contingency operations. APS-2 equipment may also be drawn for use in training and exercises.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command 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 U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.