By Ms. Jennifer Leigh King (AMC)April 1, 2008
Preparations for war are in full swing in Bamberg, Germany, as several units prepare for upcoming deployments to the Southwest Asia theater of operations. The 405th Army Field Support Brigade is supporting them and other units in the European theater in a critical way with the brigadeAca,!a,,cs left behind equipment program.
The LBE program is designed to care for a unitAca,!a,,cs equipment while the unit is deployed. The program covers all aspects of a unitAca,!a,,cs materiel, including vehicles and basic initial inventory such as fire extinguishers and other items. Through the program, the 405th AFSB maintains the equipment that the unit does not take with them.
While the unit is deployed, the equipment may be issued to other units, but each unit will receive replacement pieces when it returns to its home station. Because the equipment may be issued to another unit, exact inventory records are crucial to ensure returning units receive the same types and pieces of equipment it left behind. The LBE program is designed to provide returning units with 10/20 standard equipment upon their return, ensuring materiel readiness as soon as they return to Europe.
Aca,!A"We leave a lot of equipment behind because we just wonAca,!a,,ct need it when weAca,!a,,cre downrange,Aca,!A? said Maj. Kevin Balisky, executive officer for the 54th Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Bamberg. Aca,!A"We will be falling in on equipment that is being left downrange, so there is no need for us to take everything we have.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"The LBE program is great because itAca,!a,,cs designed to maintain our equipment while we are gone,Aca,!A? Balisky continued. Aca,!A"We donAca,!a,,ct want to have to go through weeks of reaching our modified table of organization and equipment when we return. We want everything maintained for us and ready to go when we get back.Aca,!A?
As the program manager for LBE, the 405th AFSB handles everything related to materiel management on behalf of a unit during its absence.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs an excruciatingly detailed operation,Aca,!A? said Capt. Mike Kistler, who represented the 405th during LBE operations at Bamberg. Aca,!A"Each piece of equipment has to be counted and inventoried, including the knives, forks and spoons that the cooks use in the field. WeAca,!a,,cll be responsible for taking care of everything for them while theyAca,!a,,cre gone, and we donAca,!a,,ct want them to worry about whether or not equipment is being maintained.Aca,!A?
While the LBE program is expansive, not every piece of unit equipment is put into the program.
Aca,!A"Although most of our equipment is being put into the program, we have one company staying behind when we deploy,Aca,!A? explained Capt. Dax Pummill, commander of the 54th Engineer BattalionAca,!a,,cs Headquarters Support Company. Aca,!A"We are going to laterally transfer some materiel to ensure that our dedicated equipment stays with the unit instead of being potentially issued to another Army unit.Aca,!A?
Even with the large amounts of equipment being handled, the LBE inventory program is designed to be quick and efficient. The LBE inventory for the 54th Engineer Battalion was initially scheduled to last four weeks but was completed in just two weeks, due to a consolidated effort by the unit, the 405th AFSB and the Honeywell contractors who are supporting the 405th AFSB.
Aca,!A"For the 54th Engineer Battalion, weAca,!a,,cve inventoried more than 1,000 pieces of equipment, including basic issue items,Aca,!A? said Mike Hansen, a Honeywell contractor who was temporarily working at the Bamberg operations site. Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cve inventoried everything from vehicles and tents to shovels and screwdrivers. We have to be sure that we have a perfect count of the items that are going into the program.Aca,!A?
In addition to performing all required maintenance on equipment, the LBE program is also designed to fill potential shortages.
Aca,!A"If any equipment goes into the LBE program with shortages, we receive documentation,Aca,!A? Hansen explained. Aca,!A"As part of the LBE program, we are responsible for replacing the missing items so that the equipment is completely stocked when the unit returns.Aca,!A?
The U.S. Army Sustainment Command, headquarters for the 405th AFSB, is responsible for all U.S. Army LBE programs in both the U.S. and abroad, including operations in Hawaii, Alaska, Korea and Europe.
By taking care of Europe-based unitsAca,!a,,c equipment during deployments, the 405th AFSB alleviates the stress involved with materiel management while a unit prepares for departure. Additionally, the rear detachment can focus on family support and assisting the Soldiers downrange instead of maintaining the unitAca,!a,,cs equipment.
Aca,!A"(The 405th AFSB team) is doing a great job,Aca,!A? Balisky said. Aca,!A"I have no idea what we would do with all this stuff if the LBE program wasnAca,!a,,ct around. ItAca,!a,,cs a tremendous help for those of us who are getting ready to go.Aca,!A?