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NEWS | March 23, 2022

405th AFSB CIF teams assist PEO Soldier with issue of next generation gear in Europe

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

The 405th Army Field Support Brigade is providing vital support to current operations in Europe with its Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 program and its Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, issuing thousands of APS-2 vehicles and equipment pieces and providing LOGCAP base life support services to thousands of deployed U.S. forces in Europe.

And if that wasn’t enough, the 405th AFSB is also helping to outfit thousands of U.S. Soldiers across Europe with the latest and greatest gear.

The 405th AFSB was tasked with supporting a Rapid Fielding Initiative, or RFI, issue of new equipment brought to Europe by Program Executive Office Soldier. Using its Central Issue Facility teams, several 405th AFSB Logistics Readiness Centers assisted PEO Soldier with the issue of next generation plate carriers, protective plates, helmets and more to Soldiers stationed in Europe as well as Soldiers deployed to Europe who have been designated to receive the new gear.

Units earmarked for the RFI issue included V Corps, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, 173rd Airborne Brigade and 2nd Calvary Regiment. Other units deployed to Europe received the additional equipment at their home stations before deploying. 

The PEO Soldier RFI issue consisted of four sets of uniforms, gloves and the newest cold weather boots, among other items. For combat units, the issue also included the newest Army helmet called the Integrated Head Protection System and the newest body armor called the Modular Scalable Vest. Also part of the issue was the newest protective plates, called Vital Torso Plates, which give Soldiers more agility and more protection.

Locations where the RFI issue took place were Vicenza, Italy, and Kaiserslautern and Vilseck, Germany, as well as Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. More than 14,000 sets of RFI gear were shipped to Europe, and nearly half of that shipment has been issued.

Overall responsible for the RFI issue was PEO Soldier. This included moving the RFI to Europe from a staging facility in Lansing, Michigan, and conducting the issue using a 13-member team augmented by the 405th AFSB, assisting them with process.

Each of the respective LRC CIF teams worked with PEO Soldier to issue the equipment in Vicenza, Kaiserslautern and Vilseck. In addition, three-person CIF teams from the 405th AFSB were sent to Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria with PEO Soldier to issue the gear to Soldiers deployed to those locations.

A lot of coordination and planning was done to prepare for this mission, said Eric Skitka, the 405th AFSB CIF program manager. Supporting the effort was U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s Logistics Directorate, PEO Soldier, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the 405th AFSB and the several LRC Supply and Services Directorates.

“It was a huge team effort to get this mission done,” Skitka said. “We all worked really well together and successfully completed the mission.”

Skitka said the 405th AFSB’s main responsibility was to ensure proper property accountability and to update each of the Soldiers’ clothing records.

“This was a not a normal issue in any shape or form,” he said.

Normally an RFI is issued to a deploying unit over the course of a 90-day deployment notification window, Skitka said. In this case, “we got notified on a Friday, seven days later we had a workable plan, and a few days after that we were issuing RFI at the first location.”

Representatives from U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s Logistics Directorate contacted each unit to obtain their locations as well as numbers of Soldiers to receive the RFI issue, Skitka said, and they coordinated the shipments of the RFI gear to the forward locations in Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

“There were a lot of moving parts to get those shipment containers delivered in a timely manner so the 405th AFSB and PEO Soldier could meet those containers as they were downloaded, occupy the location for the RFI issue, break the pallets down and place the RFI at the issue stations,” said Skitka. “This included an out-station where LRC representatives gathered the final paperwork for the property accountability piece to be maintained by 405th AFSB.”

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 www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.