WIESBADEN, Germany –
When he was a young boy living in the West Indies country of Grenada, never could he have imagined that one day he’d be working for the U.S. Army. In fact, it wasn’t until he was an adult serving as a police officer in the paramilitary division did the thought ever cross his mind. But when a U.S. Special Operations team came to his small island country to provide training to him and his fellow police officers, the U.S. Army suddenly became his number one career choice.
Godfrey Swan – a 22-year Army veteran, retired Soldier and now a logistics management specialist in plans and operations at Logistics Readiness Center Wiesbaden – said that encounter with those Special Forces Soldiers influenced him so much it literally changed the course of his life.
Now a father of seven and grandfather of five – living in Germany with his wife of 25 years – Swan looks back at that faithful encounter in Grenada with much appreciation. The retired noncommissioned officer whose last active-duty position was supply and logistics directorate NCO in charge, 1st Battalion, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, has been working at the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s LRC Wiesbaden for over three years.
Toward the end of next month Swan will move to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he’ll work at LRC Benning as the deputy supply and services division chief, and he’ll take with him a wealth of experience.
The last 40 months at LRC Wiesbaden has been a whirlwind and an eye opener for the 55-year-old Army civilian employee, he said. Responsible for providing a full spectrum of logistical support to a large Army garrison, a major command and the headquarters of all Army forces in Europe and Africa during COVID-19, several major exercises and current operations in Europe in support of Ukraine has been a game changer for the former active duty supply NCO.
During his career Swan deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, where he served as a brigade task force liaison officer. He also served in many other duty positions and locations throughout his Army career. But transitioning from the Grenada police force, which he did for seven years, to the U.S. Army and serving around the world was not that difficult, he said.
“It was not a hard transition for me because while I was in Grenada, most of our training as police officers in the paramilitary division was done with U.S. Special Forces units,” said Swan, who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 25. “I had already developed a lot of knowledge and experience in line with service to the U.S. Army.”
“Grenada doesn’t have an Army. It has a police force, and one of the departments in the police force is a paramilitary unit where I was assigned. All our paramilitary training was conducted by U.S. Special Forces Soldiers,” said Swan, who is Operational Security Level II qualified and a graduate of Federal Emergency Management Agency recovery and response training at Camp Blanding, Florida.
Swan also serves as LRC Wiesbaden’s representative at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Emergency Operations Center. He said whether it’s the Grenada police force or the U.S. Army, it’s all about structure. The similarities between the two organizations – when it comes to operational planning, support functions and mission execution – is far more similar than it is different.
“The organizational structure, NCO channel, officer channel, how information flows, the seven step military decision making process – plus all the individual tasks we learn like how to shoot, move and communicate – they’re all the same or similar,” said Swan. “And the support concepts we use here (at LRC Wiesbaden) are the same or similar concepts I experienced in Grenada.”
LRC Wiesbaden’s support to the Army community in Wiesbaden, to include the U.S. Army Europe and Africa headquarters, can be described in one word, according to Swan.
“The LRC is here to support the community – not just the Soldiers but the Soldiers’ Families, too,” Swan said. “We provide meals to the Soldiers who live in the barracks with our food service management program. Our Central Issue Facility issues Soldiers their combat equipment and organizational clothing items. We have a transportation directorate that helps bring the Soldiers and Families over here – all their household goods and whole baggage shipments. We provide the drivers training and testing station for their U.S. Army Europe drivers’ licenses. We manage a fleet of non-tactical vehicles which allows the Soldiers to travel to where they are directed with the support of these NTVs. We take care of all the official travel to include plane tickets and various other modes of transportation. And we manage the installation property book for the garrison and Installation Management Command-Europe headquarters.
“We provide a wide range of support, but one of the most important things we do is we serve as the garrison’s directorate of logistics,” Swan said. “That’s a tall order to fill, too, because every aspect of supply, services, sustainment and logistics is the responsibility of LRC Wiesbaden.”
LRC Wiesbaden is one of seven LRCs under the command and control of the 405th AFSB. LRCs direct, manage and coordinate a variety of operations and activities in support of their respective garrisons. LRC Wiesbaden reports to the 405th AFSB, which 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 official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.