DEFENDER Europe 2020: U.S. Army deployed prepositioned equipment

In support of DEFENDER-Europe 20, the 405th Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux issued Army Prepositioned Stocks 2 (APS 2) to the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Zutendaal, Belgium, from Feb. 25-27, 2020. Sgt. Alleea Oliver reports.

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U.S. Army Pvt. Patricia Luera, a petroleum supply specialist assigned to the 504th Composite Supply Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, conducts equipment inventory during an Army Prepositioned Stock draw in Zutendaal, Belgium, Feb. 27, 2020 (Picture source: U.S. Army/Sgt. Alleea Oliver)

DEFENDER-Europe 20 is the deployment of a division-sized, combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, the drawing of APS-2, and the movement of personnel and equipment across the theater to various training areas.

During DEFENDER-Europe 20, the largest deployment of U.S.-based forces to Europe for an exercise in the last 25 years, units will draw a total of 13,000 pieces of equipment from four APS-2 sites in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. Out of the four sites, 405th ASFBn-Benelux led the first APS-2 draw of DEFENDER-Europe 20 by issuing over 1,000 pieces of military equipment to U.S.-based soldiers participating in the exercise.

The APS-2 sites are critical elements of the DEFENDER-Europe 20 exercise, a long-planned exercise that will improve relationships, strategic readiness and interoperability between U.S. forces and their NATO allies and partners. "The logistical operation here is the essence of what the NATO alliance is all about," said U.S. Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium Chargé d'Affaires Nicholas Berliner. "Allies working together and each bringing unique capabilities to this shared effort that makes everyone one of our countries stronger and more secure."

Utilizing the APS-2 sites during DEFENDER-Europe 20 will not only test the U.S. military readiness, it will also enhance the system of NATO allies and partners. "This facility, APS Zutendaal, plays a pivotal role in providing necessary equipment and capabilities to support not only the U.S. Army but all of our NATO allies," said Berliner. "This exercise will test our military's capabilities to train our Soldiers and demonstrate the enduring commitment of the United States to the security of our friend and ally, Belgium, and also to our fellow allies and partners in NATO."

Each day of the APS-2 draw, soldiers assigned to the 553rd CSSB received, inventoried and conducted preventive maintenance checks and services on military equipment such as tactical trucks and trailers, material handling equipment, sustainment equipment and armament support equipment to ensure each piece of equipment was fully mission capable to conduct movement throughout DEFENDER-Europe 20. "This will lay the foundation as we go forward and also lay the foundation for interoperability with our [allies and] partners," said Lt. Col. Torrance Cleveland, 405th AFSBn-Benelux commander. "NATO nations have committed to ensuring Defender is a success."

DEFENDER-Europe 20 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.