ANTWERP, Belgium --- Soldiers and equipment from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kansas, arrived to the port of Antwerp, Belgium, Jan. 20, beginning the process of replacing 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas during rotational support to Atlantic Resolve.
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team has been in Europe for nine months.
The incoming Armored Brigade Combat Team brings approximately 3,500 troops and 3,000 pieces of equipment to support its nine-month mission to conduct bilateral, joint and multinational training events across eastern Europe. Rotational units focus on strengthening bonds between allies and partners while increasing interoperability and building readiness.
The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command played a major part in the arrival of the equipment.
"For this particular mission our sister battalion the 842nd Transportation Battalion out of Charleston, South Carolina, handled the fort-to-port equipment movement operation," said Maj. Aaron Hiatt, SDDC 838th Transportation Battalion. "From Charleston, the Military Sea Lift Command covers the port-to-port movement and then the SDDC 838th Transportation Battalion covers the reception, staging, and onward movement portion of incoming equipment."
Four cargo vessels totaling 500,000 square feet of cargo, or equipment, will come through the Port of Antwerp, and be staged in a 120,000-square-meter temporary military zone for onward movement by military convoy, rail, commercial line haul, and barge.
"We have approximately 60 personnel from the SDDC supporting this operation," said Lt. Col. John Thyng, 838th Transportation Battalion. "We are here over a three-week period working 12-hour shifts, just over approximately 20,000 man-hours, to move an ABCT’s equipment into the country."
Overall, approximately seven different units within U.S. Transportation Command, the SDDC, and 21st Theater Sustainment Command partnered with the Belgium military will aid in the planning, preparation, and logistical support of the transition of equipment and personnel into the European Theater.
The Belgium military has also played an integral role in the moving of the ABCT through the Port of Antwerp. In addition to providing security forces to man the temporary military zone they set up in the port, they have also provided a secondary staging facility in Grobbendonk, Belgium for the ABCT to house Soldiers, prepare vehicles for military convoy, and other logistical support. Approximately 80 Belgium military personnel will assist throughout the arrival of the ABCT.
“On behalf of my brigade commander Col. Charles Armstrong, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team commander, and Maj. Gen. John Kolasheski, 1st Infantry Division Commanding General, I would like to extend sincere thanks to the Belgium organizations and the Belgium military for the tremendous support that they are providing to get us into theater,” said Lt. Col. Drew Conover, 1-16 Infantry Battalion commander, 1 ABCT, 1 ID.
With the fourth rotation of Atlantic Resolve underway, the initial integration of all the Soldiers and equipment from 1 ABCT, 1 ID and the smooth deployment of vehicles by rail, barge, military convoy, and commercial line haul, will mark another success for SDDC, partner nations, and all the units that have assisted.
“I think what constitutes a success for the SDDC in terms of this operation, is to do everything safely and without damaging any equipment in the process,” Thyng said. “Our job is to deliver readiness and lethality to the warfighter, and make sure Atlantic Resolve supports a strong Europe through the timely delivery of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team 1st Infantry Division's equipment.”