ZUTENDAAL, Belgium – Serving in Europe provides Soldiers with many unique and interesting opportunities. For a few Soldiers from the 51st Composite Truck Company who recently trained nearly two dozen Belgian host nation employees at the Zutendaal Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 worksite on how operate and drive the Enhanced Heavy Equipment Transporter, or EHET, this was certainly one of them.
Eight Soldiers from the 51st CTC, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, served as instructors for an EHET drivers academy at the APS-2 worksite in Belgium, Nov. 6-22, training Belgian mechanics and maintainers from the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux.
In order to receive licensing accreditation on the M1300 EHET tractor and M1302 trailer, the AFSBn-Benelux host nation employees who work at Zutendaal attended the drivers academy training, which was led by the 16th Sustainment Brigade’s 51st CTC and included a classroom portion, a components and basic issue items overview, tie down procedures, ground guide instruction, trailer hook up procedures, winching, trailer maneuvering, and operating and driving the EHET.
With well over 100 EHETs stored at the Zutendaal APS-2 worksite, it’s critical that the Belgian workforce there is not only proficient in maintaining and repairing these EHETs. They must also be able to operate and drive them, and that’s where the expert truck drivers from the 51st CTC showed up to assist.
“I really enjoyed the training. The Soldiers from 51st Transportation Company who trained us were very thorough. They were also extremely patient and showed us exactly what we needed to know. They were great,” said Steven Claesen, the Zutendaal APS-2 maintenance team lead. “We learned a lot, and my team and I are now very comfortable with operating and driving the EHETs. The EHET is an amazing piece of equipment and the biggest piece of equipment here at APS-2 Zutendaal.”
The training consisted of three phases. Phase 1 was entirely done in a classroom environment. There, the APS-2 mechanics and maintainers were presented with all the technical data and regulatory guidance required to operate the M1300 EHET tractor and M1302 trailer.
Phase 2 was the hands-on training portion and focused on preventative maintenance checks and services. The APS-2 maintainers from Zutendaal shined during this portion because for many of them this is part of their everyday duties. In fact, a few of the Soldier instructors from the 51st CTC learned a tip or two from their Belgium students during this phase of the training.
Phase 3 was the most critical portion of the drivers academy and the primary reason for the training. During this phase the APS-2 mechanics and maintainers assigned to AFSBn-Benelux conducted operational control tests and a final driver’s road test. Once this phase was complete, they became fully certified and licensed to operate and drive EHETs.
According to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, the EHET is used to transport the M1 Abrams main battle tank and other heavy equipment weighing up to 90 tons and is capable of attaining highway permits to allow transport within European countries. The EHET consists of an M1300 tractor (M1070A1 modified to reduce and relocate weight to achieve European road permits) and an eight-axle M1302 trailer capable of worldwide transport. The EHET is replacing the Army’s legacy HET. Fielding of EHETs in Europe began a couple of years ago, and the 405th AFSB’s Zutendaal APS-2 worksite was one of the first locations to receive them.
The 51st CTC is headquartered in Grafenwoehr, Germany. According to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s official website, the 51st CTC provides transportation assets for the movement and distribution of dry and refrigerated containerized cargo, general non-containerized cargo, ammunition, bottled water, bulk water and assists with unit moves, transports personnel, and provides convoy protection to unit convoys.
The Zutendaal APS-2 worksite maintains equipment designated for a sustainment brigade and separate reporting units and encompasses 600,000 square feet of climate-controlled warehouse space in 15 warehouses as well as 40,000 square feet of hardstand storage.
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 and the official Facebook site.