DECEMBER 28, 2017, Powidz, Poland – The second nine-month rotation of the Atlantic Resolve Sustainment Task Force, attached to the 16th Sustainment Brigade, began earlier this month as the incoming rotation commenced reception, staging, onward movement and integration operations in Powidz and Poznan, Poland, beginning December 2017.
The incoming task force features soldiers from active, Reserve and Guard units. The units have come from Connecticut, California, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Kansas and Virginia.
“All three components will operate under the 16th Sustainment Brigade and will help sustain the operations within Atlantic Resolve,” said Army Lt. Col. William Daugherty, commander of the 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. “The culmination is arrival to Powidz, Poland, receiving our equipment, and raising our guidons. No longer are there three components, only one — strong Europe.”
Boosting Combat Power
Integrating all three components of the Army in the European theater to provide sustainment functions ultimately boosts combat power by focusing support on the regionally allocated forces in Europe, which include the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, officials said. After spending nine months supporting multinational exercises, often featuring military forces from 10 or more countries and from sister services, the rotational sustainers will return to their home station units as experts in their military specialties with experiences that they can draw from to teach their fellow soldiers.
Similar to the inaugural rotation, this sustainment task force will support Atlantic Resolve by providing movement control, fuel, water, distribution, ammunition, supply, maintenance, laundry, and postal support.
“As we were preparing to deploy, we identified the need to do exercise design for a certified training event that would encapsulate the functions we would perform in Europe,” said Army Lt. Col. Joseph Young, commander of the 53rd Transportation Battalion. “After we completed our [culminating training event], we knew there would still be a lengthy learning curve upon arrival, because you cannot entirely replicate the complexity, scope, and theater specific aspects of operating in Europe while in the United States.”
Movement to Lithuania, Romania
After the incoming Atlantic Resolve Sustainment Task Force officially took the reins from the 497th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and 330th Transportation Battalion in Powidz and Poznan, the task force will prepare to send out forward support elements to Lithuania and Romania, officials said. These forward support elements will provide flexible sustainment capabilities for U.S., allied, and partnered forces training in their respective areas of operation. This enables greater operational reach and freedom of movement from the Baltics to the Black Sea region.
“On any given day the 16th Sustainment Brigade’s soldiers are operating in 18 to 25 countries,” said Army Col. Michelle K. Donahue, brigade commander. “Last year we supported 53 U.S. Army Europe exercises.”
A typical distribution or sustainment mission for the recently arrived soldiers can often entail crossing four sovereign countries’ borders, all of which have different languages and use different currencies, officials said. This presents a tremendous growth opportunity for many soldiers in the task force from the Army Reserve and National Guard who, before this rotation, may have never traveled outside of the continental United States.
“This is my first time in Europe, and I have been looking forward to this deployment,” said Army Sgt. Khalil Scott, a National Movement Coordination Center liaison with the 53rd Transportation Battalion. “This is a different operating environment, so it will allow me to do my job better.”
With new areas of operation for the incoming task force also come new rules, regulations, and standards directed by the U.S. forces and host nations that the soldiers must learn, officials said. These regulations include everything from the number of vehicles that constitute a convoy to the certifications required to transport hazardous material.
“We empower our junior leaders as they conduct missions across Europe,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Frank M. Graham Jr., the 16th Sustainment Brigade’s senior noncommissioned officer. “Every day we have sergeants leading convoys and working with allies, typically senior noncommissioned officer and junior officer level responsibilities.”
Over the next nine months the multicomponent soldiers in the Atlantic Resolve Sustainment Task Force will be at the cutting edge of integrated operations in the “leadership laboratory” of U.S. Army Europe, officials said.
By Army 1st Lt. Mark Schneider, 16th Sustainment Brigade