The largest single Army-run shipment of ammunition to Europe in more than two decades, more than 600 shipping containers worth, arrived in Germany Oct. 29.
The Army and Air Force ammunition arrived at the port in Nordenham, Germany, where it was loaded onto trains and shipped to Miesau Army Depot, Germany, for storage and distribution.
“The shipment by itself is special because it’s over 620 containers,” said Lt. Col. Brad Culligan, commander, 838th Transportation Battalion, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. “We continue to build up the presence in Europe. This will help with reassuring our allies, along with the common defense of Europe if needed.”
Reassuring European allies by increasing the readily available ammunition also improves the readiness of U.S. forces stationed in Europe.
“This is about deterrence,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general, U.S. Army Europe. “We could have 1,000 tanks over here, but if we didn’t have the ammunition for them, they would not have any deterrent effect. It’s another example of the commitment of the United States to security and stability in Europe.”
Culligan, who oversaw the transfer of the cargo from the ship to trains, said the mission required an immense amount of coordination from multiple entities.
“It’s a Military Sea Lift Command vessel that is crewed and manned by Military Sea Lift personnel underneath the U.S. Navy,” Culligan said. “We are moving Air Force ammunition as well as Army ammunition, so it is truly a joint mission here that is being worked from all levels, from battalion and all the way through the (21st Theater Sustainment Command) and to higher headquarters back in the United States.”
Hodges, who was present for the arrival of the first trainload to Miesau, reflected on the joint nature of the endeavor, noting that German support was a key in getting the ammunition where it needed to go.
“The fact that the ammunition came from Nordenham port by rail all the way to Miesau was only possible because our ally, Germany, allowed it to happen,” Hodges said. “So it’s another way that Germany contributes to deterrence … by enabling the movement of ammunition and equipment inside Germany for the United States Army.”
He also praised the Soldiers, civilians, contractors and German local national employees who made the mission a success. “I am so impressed with the quality of the workforce out here,” Hodges said.
Personnel at the depot began unloading and breaking down the shipment for storage or movement to other locations as it arrived. The Ammunition will later be moved to various locations throughout Europe.
“It’s the ultimate theater sustainment,” Culligan said. “We’re bringing ammunition into the theater to resupply and set the stage for the European theater for any type of exercises or potential future missions that may come about.”