LIVORNO, Italy – Mission command of the five Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 worksites in Europe is the responsibility of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade and it’s four battalions, but the primary workforce at these APS-2 sites is a mix between contractors, local national employees and in the Netherlands – Dutch Ministry of Defense civilian employees.
In a first, foreign national uniformed military personnel will conduct the day-to-day maintenance operations and work at an APS-2 site in Europe, and those military personnel recently took their first step to assume that mission.
More than 30 Polish air force personnel who will work at the new APS-2 site in Powidz, Poland – officially known as the Long Term Equipment Storage and Maintenance-Complex – conducted a site visit to Leghorn Army Depot in Livorno Nov. 13-17 to see how an APS-2 site operates.
Robert Guess is the support operations director for Army Field Support Battalion-Africa at Leghorn. He said the Polish air force personnel tapped to work at the APS-2 site in Poland came to Italy to “get a taste of what an APS-2 operation looks like and what that all entails.”
“Our Polish counterparts who visited were split up into groups,” said Guess. “For example, some shadowed the maintenance directorate, and some shadowed the directorate of supply. The goal was to show them our day-to-day operations and how APS-2 supports U.S. Army Europe and Africa and two combatant commands.”
“It was a lot of young officers, some of them straight out of their military academy, and they asked a lot of very good questions,” Guess said.
When introduced to AFSBn-Africa’s manning and workload planning and analysis efforts, Guess said he could tell the Polish airmen were slightly overwhelmed, especially at first. But he said the visit was mainly a chance for them to observe how an APS-2 worksite operates, and they’ll learn much more over the next year or two before they assume full responsibility of APS-2 maintenance operations at the site in Powidz.
“This initiative gave the Polish military personnel an opportunity to put eyes on what a fully operational APS-2 worksite looks like,” said Thomas Fiori, AFSBn-Africa’s director of maintenance. “Even though our APS-2 set here at Leghorn is quite a bit different than what they’re going to have in Poland – they’re going to have an [Armored Brigade Combat Team] and we have mostly tactical sustainment brigade type sets – the goal was to show them what right looks like.”
In total, the Polish military personnel spent almost a week on the ground at Leghorn with AFSBn-Africa. During this time, they attended briefings, met with senior leaders from the battalion, walked the APS-2 worksite, spoke with the maintainers and team leads doing the work, and observed all the day-to-day operations at the site.
“It wasn’t a lot of showing them how we physically turn wrenches, but more of the planning, production control and supply management functions,” Fiori said. “Overall, I think it was successful, especially as a first look. Nobody walked out of here an APS-2 expert. What we gave them was some basic tools to get started.”
“I don’t want to say first level,” Guess added, “more of an observation and orientation to APS-2 – a firsthand look at what a well-managed and well-maintained APS-2 worksite looks like.”
And the Polish military personnel who visited AFSBn-Africa and the APS-2 site at Leghorn made it clear they don’t take lightly the importance of their role in supporting the APS-2 mission in Europe.
“This is one of the most important missions for the Polish military right now,” said Lt. Col. Przemel Musiej, the officer in charge of the Polish logistics support workforce at Powidz. “This is the first site of its kind in Poland, and for us the Long Term Equipment Storage and Maintenance-Complex demonstrates the strong partnership we have with the U.S. and NATO.”
Comprised of 650,000 square feet of humidity-controlled warehouse space, a vehicle maintenance facility and supporting facilities, and a 58,000 square foot munitions storage area – the state-of-the-art LTESM-C in Poland demonstrates the commitment and investment of the U.S. with Poland and NATO through enduring agreements to posture resources for rapid deployment and deter potential adversaries.
On order, the 405th AFSB’s Army Field Support Battalion-Poland will assume mission command of APS-2 operations at the LTESM-C. Musiej’s workforce will work shoulder-to-shoulder with AFSBn-Poland, performing the vast majority of maintenance and mechanical repairs on APS-2 vehicles and equipment pieces.
In Livorno, AFSBn-Africa is charged with receiving, maintaining, storing and issuing APS-2 at Leghorn Army Depot as well as at locations forward – known as equipment configuration and hand off areas. The battalion is also responsible for linking national logistics capabilities and providing logistics solutions to Army units and joint forces South of the Alps through U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Life Cycle Management Commands.
Organizations AFSBn-Africa directly support – helping to enable readiness across two theaters of operations – are U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, Southern European Task Force-Africa, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and other strategic partners and allies.
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 the AMC materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.