LIVORNO, Italy –
The team at Army Field Support Battalion-Africa put their capabilities to the test recently when they moved 50 mine-resistant ambush protected all terrain vehicles from their Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 worksite at Leghorn Army Depot to the Port of Livorno and loaded those M-ATVs onto a commercial sea vessel in what may have been record time.
With support from U.S. Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, the Port of Livorno and local partners – AFSBn-Africa was able to move all 50 M-ATVs from Leghorn to the port in under two days and load the M-ATVs onto the MN Toucan cargo vessel in less than four hours, said Thomas Kilian, the director of supply at AFSBn-Africa in Livorno.
Bound for Antwerp, Belgium – with onward movement to the Eygelshoven and Zutendaal APS-2 worksites in the Netherlands and Belgium – the 50 M-ATVs are part of a shift in APS-2 regional posturing. Earmarked by U.S. Army Sustainment Command and the 405th Army Field Support Brigade for transfer, the M-ATVs are being relocated from AFSBn-Africa in Livorno to a sister battalion up north – Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux.
Even though the actual loading of the M-ATVs onto the cargo vessel was quick, the coordination, planning and preparation began weeks earlier. Long before the actual movement, much thought and analysis came into play, Kilian said.
First, it’s necessary to determine what’s most cost effective – moving the M-ATVs via commercial line hall trucks across Europe or moving them all at once by cargo vessel to a port of debarkation in the Benelux, Kilian said. Africa battalion coordinated with the Movement Control Office from the 39th Transportation Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, for this. The 39th Trans. movement control experts analyzed the critical data, calculated the cost differences, and helped determine the best course of action. Africa battalion also coordinated with SDDC’s 839th Transportation Battalion for Port of Livorno operations, as well.
“It’s always a team effort. It really is – especially when moving large quantities of material and tactical equipment,” said Kilian. “We rely heavily on all of our partner organizations, whether that be moving the equipment by air, land or sea.”
But Kilian said it all starts at the battalion.
The AFSBn-Africa maintenance directorate was responsible for ensuring each M-ATV was serviced and fully mission capable, and the battalion’s quality assurance team verified the service records were correct.
The quality assurance team conducted a one-to-end inventory in coordination with the directorate of supply on every piece of equipment to make sure the transfer documents matched the actual material. Quality assurance ensured all the basic issue items and subcomponents for each major end item were 100 percent inventoried and present, as well. For any shortages annotated, the items were ordered immediately.
Simultaneously, the directorate of supply’s automation team began preparing all the documentation in Global Combat Support System-Army to laterally transfer the APS-2 equipment from Leghorn Army Depot and AFSBn-Africa to the gaining organization – in this case AFSBn-Benelux. GCSS-Army serves as a financial system of record for the Army focusing on property book actions, supply and logistics management operations.
To give credit where credit is due, AFSBn-Africa Director of Quality Assurance Chief Warrant Officer 3 Colin Rose said the stevedores who work at the port, load the vessels and strap down all the equipment in preparation for transport were the main effort and the ones doing the heavy lifting on load day.
“But that’s not to take anything away from our maintenance and storage efforts,” he said. “Those trucks wouldn't have been loaded on that boat so quickly if they weren't at such a high state of readiness. Once the pump is fully primed by our team, the movement and loading happen pretty quickly.”
“Bottom line, we set the conditions for success,” Rose said.
Africa battalion is charged with receiving, maintaining, storing and issuing APS-2 at Leghorn Army Depot in Livorno as well as at locations forward – known as equipment configuration and hand off areas. The battalion is also responsible for linking national logistics capabilities and providing logistics solutions to Army units and joint forces South of the Alps through U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Life Cycle Management Commands.
Organizations AFSBn-Africa directly support – helping to enable readiness across two theaters of operations – are U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, Southern European Task Force-Africa, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and other strategic partners and allies.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to ASC 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 AMC 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.