BRUSSELS, Belgium –
For the past four years, the Logistics Readiness Center Benelux installation transportation officer in Brussels has been working in what can only be described as a multicultural, multinational melting pot.
Dylan Sweem is part of 10-person team from six different countries, plus the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders and the French-speaking region Wallonia in Belgium. And his team’s primary customer is NATO – made up of 30 nations from Europe and North America.
From the U.S., Italy, Peru, Iran, France, and two distinctly different regions of Belgium – the team is responsible for personal property shipping, quality assurance and customs, drivers testing and training, a fleet of non-tactical and special heavily armored vehicles as well as the property book and the hazardous material programs. They support personnel assigned to NATO headquarters, military delegates, embassy personnel and more.
The 54-year-old Denver native, who describes his team as almost a mini LRC, said having such a diverse workforce supporting a multinational military alliance is extremely helpful to everyone.
“Because of the multicultural and multinational environment we work in, everyone has different perceptions and different takes on things,” Sweem said, “and being so diverse, we have more options available to us when approaching a problem and resolving it.”
“Most places have a very specific culture, whereas here we’re dealing with a variety of cultures, and this is helpful,” he said.
“For example, if I have an issue with transporting vehicles in and out of a certain area of Belgium, I can go to my employee who is from that area and he’ll say ‘oh, in my commune these are the rules and regulations. This is what we have to adhere to.’ If we have a mission in France, I can reach out to my driver who is from France and talk with him,” said Sweem.
A former active duty Soldier and M1A1 Abrams tank crewmember, Sweem was stationed at Baumholder, Germany, for 15 years before returning to the U.S. and then accepting a job offer with LRC Benelux in Brussels. While living in Baumholder, he said he made a point of getting out and visiting as much of Europe as possible.
“I’ve been to almost every country in Western Europe and almost every country in Eastern Europe,” said Sweem, whose wife, Monika, is from Poland. “And before I joined the military, I was a transcontinental truck driver so I’ve been to all 48 continental states plus Canada and Mexico.”
“I think some people might find this job more difficult if they came straight from the U.S. and lived there their entire lives or they just stayed in Germany while they were stationed there and didn’t do a lot of traveling around Europe,” he said. “But since I did – and I’ve experienced so many cultures, I speak three languages, and I really enjoy my job – it suits me very well.”
But still, the LRC Benelux Brussels manager attributes most of his success to his team.
“Because our team is so small, one thing I respect most about them is their flexibility,” Sweem said. “They are always willing to step up and assist.”
LRC Benelux is one of seven LRCs under the command and control of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade. LRCs execute installation logistics support and services to include supply, maintenance, and transportation as well as clothing issue facility operations, hazardous material management, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, non-tactical vehicle and garrison equipment management, and property book operations. When it comes to providing day-to-day installation services, LRC Benelux directs, manages and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of USAG Benelux.
LRC Benelux 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.