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NEWS | March 25, 2022

Zutendaal APS-2 site receives support from 3rd ID maintenance company deployed to Europe

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

The Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 worksite in Zutendaal has been extremely busy prepping and pushing out thousands of vehicles and equipment pieces in support of current operations in Europe. In addition to that mission, the worksite has continued to focus on its normal day-to-day operations – maintaining thousands more vehicles and equipment pieces with regularly scheduled top-to-bottom maintenance checks and services, technical inspections, and quality control checks. 

It’s an enormous amount of work for a team of just over 180 personnel, both U.S. and Belgium, but recently they nearly doubled in size when more than 130 Soldier mechanics from a U.S.-based maintenance company deployed to their site to help turn wrenches.

Company B, 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, deployed from Fort Stewart, Georgia, to Europe a few days ago with the mission to augment Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux – and more specifically its Zutendaal APS-2 worksite.

Tiffany Mikus is the site director at Zutendaal, AFSBn-Benelux, 405th Army Field Support Brigade. She said she and her team are looking closely at current workload requirements as well as AFSBn-Benelux’s upcoming support to the next iteration of DEFENDER-Europe and other missions.

“And at the same time we’re looking at all the remaining (equipment by unit) on site because we want to take advantage of the maintenance company’s deployment and put hands on every item here on Zutendaal,” Mikus said.

That means completing all the technical inspections and looking at all required services and where those services fall within the maintenance cycle in order to even out the workload that remains, she said.

The commander of AFSBn-Benelux, Lt. Col. Aaron Jones, said he looks forward to getting the maintenance company fully integrated into his team, knowing they’ll enhance his battalion’s ability to rapidly prepare and maintain the APS-2 equipment sets.

“What a unique opportunity for this maintenance company deployed here from the U.S., but also for my battalion,” said Jones. “We look forward to working with them and know our collaborative efforts will truly make a difference.”

The Zutendaal maintenance team is currently meeting with Company B, 87th CSSB, daily to determine the overall workload process, but even in this early stage of their integration into the Zutendaal team, Mikus said she and her team are impressed with the many capabilities the maintenance company from Fort Stewart carries in its tool box.

The 87th CSSB maintenance company consists of an automotive shop, ground support equipment shop, service and recovery shop, armament shop, communications and electronics shop, parts and supply, and a calibration team, said 1st Sgt. Thomas Johns, Company B first sergeant, 87th CSSB.

The calibration team – which is also known as Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment – “is huge,” added Mikus. “We’re definitely going to take advantage of having that capability on site.”

Johns said AFSBn-Benelux currently sends everything to Kaiserslautern, Germany, to be calibrated, “but we brought our calibration team and shop with us so we’re going to take over that duty, and no longer will anything that needs to be calibrated be sent to Kaiserslautern.”

And once all the vehicles and equipment pieces are fully mission capable and ready for issue in support of current operations in Europe, Johns said his company will begin cross training with the APS-2 team at Zutendaal.

“A lot of the Belgium local national workforce here have not received the same training we have,” Johns said, “so we’re going to provide them with that training and more.”

When the maintenance company landed in Europe, Johns said he and his Soldiers were very impressed with the reception they received from the 405th AFSB and U.S. Army Garrison Benelux.

“Truthfully, of the 10 deployments I’ve been on in my 20-year career, this one has been the most amazing,” said Johns, who again emphasized how impressed he was with the community support.

The Family Readiness Group came out and greeted all the Soldiers. The Exchange, the commissary and the sports club extended their hours for the Soldiers. And the executive officer from the 405th AFSB, Lt. Col. Oliver Davis, was there on day one to greet the maintenance company upon their arrival at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. 

“I don’t think I could have asked for a better reception and integration,” said Johns.

And now that they are near the point of full integration, Mikus and Johns are both thinking beyond Zutendaal – more specifically theater wide.

“What they bring is bigger than just supporting Zutendaal. It’s really support to the entire theater because they bring such a huge capability with them,” Mikus said. “I believe this team is going to end up being a theater asset more so than just a Zutendaal asset.”

And the wheels to support that theory are already in motion, as it turns out. According to Johns, next week the support maintenance company will send more than a dozen Soldiers from its armament shop, automotive shop and its ground support equipment shop to Eygelshoven, Netherlands, to augment AFSBn-Benelux’s APS-2 worksite there.

“Our armament tech, chief warrant officer Kim, is over there right now coordinating the support we’ll bring to that site,” Johns added.

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.