BREMERHAVEN, Germany: The first combat power into the European theater for DEFENDER-Europe 20 has rolled down the ramp of the American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier The Endurance at the port of Bremerhaven in Germany, February 20. The equipment belongs to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, deploying to Germany from Fort Stewart, Georgia.
The arrival of the ARC Endurance signifies the next major step of DEFENDER-Europe 20, the largest deployment of Soldiers from the U.S. to Europe for an exercise in more than 25 years.
Approximately 20,000 Soldiers from all across the U.S. including Soldiers from Army Reserves, Active Duty, and National Guard units in 15 states are participating in this deployment designed to demonstrate the Army’s ability to rapidly deploy a large force, moving them to various areas of operation, and sustain them, before redeploying them back to the United States.
This defensive deployment of combat credible forces brings with it over 20,000 pieces of equipment to participate in linked exercises across the theater. Some, like 2nd BCT, 3rd ID, are bringing their own equipment, other units will draw 13,000 pieces of equipment from the Army Prepositioned Stock in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
What is unique about this deployment for 2nd BCT, 3rd ID is the number of personnel and equipment they brought with them.
“There has been a pattern in Europe that has been generated where a unit would draw equipment or take only a portion of what a brigade combat team might have,” said Col. Scott O’Neal, commander 2nd BCT, 3rd ID. “However, we are bringing our entire brigade combat team, all of our personnel and equipment.”
Planning, preparing, and coordinating for such a large-scale movement of equipment and personnel is no small feat and takes a ‘Team of Teams’ to make it happen. Making sure this movement and support are executed with precision is the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and the 598th Transportation Brigade, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.
The 21st TSC is responsible for the onward movement and support throughout Europe for units coming to the European theater including coordinating line-haul, housing, food, safety and security, medical support, or convoy support. Units within the 21st TSC, from the 16th Sustainment Brigade, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Special Troops Battalion, and 30th Medical Brigade bring a wide variety of support as the premiere Theater Support Command in Europe.
“Organizations such as U.S. European Command, U.S. Army Europe, 21st Theater Sustainment Command and the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command along with many others have worked diligently for months, hand-in-hand with our military and civilian partners to ensure this mission’s success,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, commander 21st TSC.
The 21st TSC coordination for convoy operations, border crossings, life support, and equipment and troop security are key elements to the success of Defender 20 and could not be accomplished without the hard work and dedication of the U.S. and its allies and partners.
The 598th Transportation Brigade SDDC plays a crucial role in making DEFENDER-Europe 20 possible.
598th Transportation Brigade is a unique Army command that brings the Global Distribution Enterprise to the European theater. Whenever and wherever Soldiers deploy, the 598th is involved in planning and executing mission command of the surface delivery of their equipment and supplies at the ports.
“Our ‘Team of Teams’ has done a tremendous job at the port. Soldiers, Army civilians, host-nation professionals, and industry partners,” said Col. Jin Pak, commander of 598th Transportation Brigade, SDDC. “They’ve all come together in support of the largest deployment of U.S. forces to Europe in 25-years.”
As DEFENDER-Europe 20 continues, U.S. service members will spread out across the European region and participate in various annual exercises to build readiness and interoperability with our allies and partners. The exercise will conclude with the redeployment of U.S.-based forces and equipment. U.S. service members will clear the training areas, return prepositioned stocks, move to ports and return to home stations – fulfilling the U.S. military’s commitment to the NATO agreements.