ZUTENDAAL, Belgium –
The U.S. Army Europe and Africa-led DEFENDER 23 exercise kicks off into high gear shortly, and the 405th Army Field Support Brigade is ready to support the nearly 23,000 U.S. and multi-national participants from 26 nations participating in the exercise with hundreds of combat and combat support vehicles and equipment pieces from multiple Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 worksites across Europe.
In Zutendaal, Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux has been preparing and loading an entire float bridge system onto commercial line-haul transporters bound for Romania. Also known as an MRBC, the float bridge system will be issued to the 50th Muti-Role Bridge Company from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, at an Equipment Configuration and Hand-off Area on Mihail Kogalniceau Air Base, Romania, next week.
The APS-2 float bridge system – which includes over a dozen bridge erection boats and boat cradles, over 40 bridge bays and adapter pallets, and more than 40 bridge transporters – will be used in wet gap crossings led by a Romanian multi-national division in Frecatei and Bordusani, Romania, in early June.
In addition to the more than 150 major bridge system end items, hundreds more APS-2 items and repair parts will be issued to the 50th MRBC, 5th Engineer Battalion – things like radios, generators, basic issue items and tools.
Army Lt. Col. Blake Smith, the commander of AFSBn-Benelux, said the APS-2 equipment at Zutendaal and his battalion’s other APS-2 site in Eygelshoven, Netherlands, is maintained at a high state of readiness so that during a rapid response mission or contingency a U.S. Army unit outside of Europe can deploy here quickly, sign for the APS-2 equipment and conduct its mission.
“Army Prepositioned Stocks directly support our NATO allies and partners here on the continent, providing options for a rapid response as part of our strategic response triad,” Smith said. “It assures our allies and partners, and it deters our adversaries.”
“The people here at Zutendaal and Eygelshoven, as part of battalion Benelux, are really critical to that support. That team is keeping this equipment at a high readiness level to be able to respond at a moment’s notice,” Smith said.
Tiffany Mikus, the site director at the Zutendaal APS-2 worksite, said there’s about 165 Belgian national citizens who work for AFSBn-Benelux, 405th AFSB, at the site.
“It shows our continued support, not only to the European theater but also to our host nation of Belgium and the NATO mission,” said Mikus.
Right now there are personnel from the Zutendaal APS-2 worksite in Romania who are partnering with the Romanian forces in support of the DEFENDER 23 exercise, Mikus said. Previously there were personnel from Zutendaal deployed to Poland and Germany, too.
DEFENDER 23 is a U.S. European Command directed multi-national, joint exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between U.S. and NATO allies and partners. The large-scale movement of troops from the continental U.S for this exercise involve extensive support from each of the host nations, demonstrating the importance of ally and partner investment in European military readiness and defense. By rapidly drawing equipment from the 405th AFSB’s Army Prepositioned Stocks, U.S. Army Europe and Arica demonstrate its ability to quickly build and maintain expeditionary forces in Europe. Several media opportunities will occur during DEFENDER 23. Journalists interested in the opportunities or learning more about the exercise should email email@example.com. Follow the latest news and information on DEFENDER 23 at www.EuropeAfrica.army.mil/DefenderEurope.
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.