RYKI, Poland –
An entire float ribbon bridge system from the 405th Army Field Support Brigade was employed and used by U.S., Polish, French and Swedish military forces to cross the Vistula River between Ryki and Kozienice, Poland, during DEFENDER-Europe 22, May 13.
The float bridge, which came from Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux’s Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 worksite in Zutendaal, Belgium, was launched by the 74th Multi-Role Bridge Company, deployed from Fort Hood, Texas, to Poland for the exercise. Over the course of about two hours, several dozen M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley fighting vehicles and various other Army transport trucks and equipment pieces crossed the bridge.
The 405th AFSB’s Benelux and Mannheim battalions worked together to prepare, ship and issue the bridge system to the 74th MRBC, which when erected and launched can extend up to 210 meters. This was the first time a float bridge system from the Zutendaal APS-2 site was transported to Poland and used for a DEFENDER-Europe exercise.
More than 150 major bridge system end items were issued to the 74th MRBC, 62nd Engineer Battalion, for the multinational training exercise at an Equipment Configuration and Hand-off Area in Radom, Poland, during the last week of April.
This included over a dozen bridge erection boats and boat cradles, over 40 bridge bays and adapter pallets, and more than 40 bridge transporters. In addition, more than 400 other APS-2 items were issued to the bridge company – things like weapons, radios, generators and even a bulldozer – as well as thousands of repair parts, basic issue items and tools.
Army Maj. Leonard Weschler, Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim’s executive officer, was the ECHA site lead in Radom. He said the ECHA operations demonstrated the 405th AFSB’s capability to manage and run operations of increased complexity and showed “we’re able to mix and match expertise from two battalions to ensure mission success.”
The commander of AFSBn-Mannheim, Lt. Col. Brian Astwood, stressed to the Soldiers of the 74th MRBC how important they are to operations in Europe when he visited the ECHA site and observed operations. He told them they’re bringing a vital capability and expertise to Europe that doesn’t exist here without them and the APS-2 MRBC equipment set.
Army Lt. Col. Aaron Jones, the commander of AFSBn-Benelux, is responsible for the Zutendaal APS-2 site where the float bridge is normally stored and maintained. He said it was important for his team to see photos of the 74th MRBC employing the bridge during DEFENDER-Europe 22 because it helps validate the importance of their work at the APS-2 site.
DEFENDER-Europe 22 is a series of U.S. Army Europe and Africa multinational training exercises within U.S. European Command’s Large Global Scale Exercise construct taking place in Eastern Europe. DEFENDER-Europe 22 demonstrates U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s ability to conduct large scale ground combat operations across multiple theaters in support of NATO and the U.S. National Defense Strategy.
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 U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.