JANUARY 12, 2017, BRUCKE-LEHNIN, Germany – Accomplishing a vital mission, such as convoying 21 military vehicles across Germany to Poland, demands an experienced team.
For the last two days, Soldiers from 3-17 Support Maintenance Company, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade have provided vehicle maintenance support to Soldiers assigned to 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (Iron Brigade), 4th Infantry Division, who are currently on their second day of their convoy to Poland.
The convoy, which left Bergen-Hohn, Germany, Tuesday is on a three-day mission that involves approximately 60 personnel, 21 military vehicles such as LMTV’s with trailers, Humvees, water buffalos and wrecker vehicles traveling approximately 700 kilometers.
“My team of six has been following 4th ID’s convoy to Zagan, and we have been providing on-the-spot maintenance or recovery to vehicles that could potentially have mechanical issues,” said 2nd Lt. Alexandra Pagonay, ground support platoon leader assigned to 3-17 SB.
According to Pagonay, her unit follows standard operating procedures in the event that a vehicle malfunctions while on the road. The Soldiers are briefed before each convoy on these procedures to ensure proper safety measures are taken.
“If anything breaks down, the Soldiers radio us up automatically and pull over on the right side of the road, and only necessary personnel exit the vehicle through the passenger side wearing personal protective equipment,” she said. “As soon as we get notified, my mechanics get out of their vehicles to check if there is anything they can fix right there. If not, my wrecker hooks up the vehicle and tows it to the next rest stop.”
On the first day of the convoy, a mechanical malfunction occurred on one of the 21 vehicles and could not be fixed immediately. A team of German local nationals assisted the unit by providing support with a vehicle wrecker.
“It has been great working with the German local nationals,” Pagonay said. “They are very understanding, and it shows how great we can all work together, especially under the stressful circumstances.”
In total, 4th ID brought 3,500 personnel, 87 tanks, 18 Paladins; 419 multi-purpose and 144 Bradley tanks; as well as approximately 2,000 additional vehicles and trailers to train alongside their multinational partners in several countries across Europe.
The vast quantity of equipment was transported by three cargo ships, rail, commercial line-haul and a military convoy, and will consolidate near training areas in Drawsko, Pomorskie and Zagan.
The unit’s arrival marks the start of back-to-back rotations of armored brigades in Europe as part of Atlantic Resolve. This rotation will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region, improve the U.S. ability to respond to potential crises and defend allies and partners in the European community.
U.S. forces will focus on strengthening capabilities and sustaining readiness through bilateral and multinational training and exercises.
By Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Tarr