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NEWS | May 7, 2024

405th AFSB completes issue of APS-2 set to National Guard cavalry unit at DEFENDER 24

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

Less than 24 hours after touching down in Czechia via a commercial airline flight from the U.S., West Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers – some running on just a couple of hours of sleep – fell in on Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 at the Libava Training Area in Czechia at the start of DEFENDER 24.

A combined 405th Army Field Support Brigade team made up of Soldiers and Army civilians from Army Field Support Battalion-Africa from Livorno, Italy, and contractors from the Coleman APS-2 worksite in Mannheim, Germany – who worked for days setting the staging grid at an Equipment Configuration and Hand-Off Area – greeted the National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment, and provided them with a safety briefing. Immediately following the briefing, together, they began the work.

In less than 60 hours, the 1st Squadron, 150th Cav. Regt., and the 405th AFSB team completed all the joint technical inspections and preventative maintenance checks and services on all of the APS-2, and the National Guard Soldiers signed for the cavalry regiment APS-2 set – over 400 major end items – such as M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M113 Armored Personnel Carriers and a variety of rolling stock, to include Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, fuelers, wreckers and more.

Sgt. 1st Class Chad Garrick, a medic and the readiness noncommissioned officer for 1st Squadron, 150th Cav. Regt., said the three dozen National Guard Soldiers who arrived first to Czechia from West Virginia to receive the APS-2 equipment were part of the squadron’s advance party, and right behind them over 400 more Soldiers were on their way.

“We got here and hit the ground running, some of us with less than two hours of sleep,” Garrick said. “I was impressed. I’ve been on several deployments where it takes forever to receive your equipment. Here, it was already setup and waiting for us.”

“To have the vehicles already here, it helps us out a lot during a rapid deployment like this one for DEFENDER 24,” said Garrick. “And when we had any questions or issues, they were right on top of things and ready to help. It makes things a whole lot faster and better.”

“I’m very proud of the team, not only our military but also the contracted workforce,” said Lt. Col. Alexander Amato, the commander of AFSBn-Africa. “In addition to maintaining APS-2 stocks in Italy, exercises like DEFENDER 24 give us the opportunity to exercise our processes, systems and people to be able to go wherever the need is to support U.S. Army Europe and Africa and NATO and to help ensure deterrence throughout Europe.”

Army Maj. Duane Dumlao, the AFSBn-Africa executive officer, was the Equipment Configuration and Hand-Off Area, or ECHA, officer in charge at the Libava Training Area. Overall, he was responsible for issuing the APS-2 cavalry regiment equipment set to the National Guard Soldiers. He said it took a lot of coordination, communication and hard work to get to the point where they were 100 percent ready to receive the gaining tactical unit and conduct the issue.

“The overall push and movement from Coleman worksite in Germany to the Libava Training Area in Czechia was smooth. The equipment arrived on time, according to our planned timeline, and there’s been no issues at the ECHA site,” Dumlao said. “The host nation has been great. Our counterparts from the Czech army executed everything we submitted in our statement of requirements in order for us to set up the ECHA operations, to include 24-hour armed security.”

The Czech army even provided a secure perimeter, to include triple-strand concertina wire around the entire ECHA site and a secured entryway, which was something that wasn’t included in the statement of requirements, Dumlao said.

“It’s a good feeling to know that we’re making a difference and helping the gaining tactical unit meet it’s goals and move forward to execute their battle tactical exercise requirements during DEFENDER 24,” said Dumlao.

“This is the second year we’ve been supporting DEFENDER at a forward location with APS-2 command and control assets, during my command,” said Amato. “Having the 405th AFSB and the subordinate battalions take part in DEFENDER is – in my opinion – extremely important strategically and operationally because it clearly demonstrates how we tie into and support U.S. Army Europe and Africa.”

The cavalry equipment set was transported from the Coleman APS-2 worksite in Mannheim using commercial line-haul transporter assets. The contracted workforce at Coleman, approximately 50 personnel, traveled from there to Libava to help set the staging grid for DEFENDER 24 and assist with the issue of equipment at the ECHA site while command and control of the site was the responsibility of AFSBn-Africa

The 405th AFSB’s APS-2 program provides turn-key power projection packages ready to deploy at a moment’s notice while helping to reduce the amount of equipment needed from the deploying forces’ home stations. APS-2 sites help reduce deployment timelines, improve deterrence capabilities and provide additional combat power for contingency operations. APS-2 equipment may also be drawn for use in training and exercises, like DEFENDER 24.

DEFENDER is the Dynamic Employment of Forces to Europe for NATO Deterrence and Enhanced Readiness, and is a U.S. European Command scheduled, U.S. Army Europe and Africa conducted exercise that consists of Saber Strike, Immediate Response, and Swift Response. DEFENDER 24 is linked to NATO’s Steadfast Defender exercise, and DoD’s Large Scale Global Exercise, taking place from 28 March to 31 May.

DEFENDER 24 is the largest U.S. Army exercise in Europe and includes more than 17,000 U.S. and 23,000 multinational service members from more than 20 Allied and partner nations, including Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

For more photos, videos and information on DEFENDER 24, go to www.europeafrica.army.mil/DefenderEurope/.

The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The brigade 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’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.