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16th Sustainment Brigade Theater Support

The 16th Sustainment Brigade made itself available to support units throughout U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa after returning from its deployment to Iraq. Providing this support benefited both the receiving units and the sustainment brigade.

After returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009, the 16th Sustainment Brigade found innovative ways of integrating itself into the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) logistics footprint. The brigade's support operations maintenance branch coordinated multiple external missions to support the USAREUR and U.S. Army Africa commanders' missions.

Spartan Field Kitchen
An armament repairer with the 317th Maintenance Company, 16th Sustainment Brigade, performs maintenance on an M9 semiautomatic pistol during the 170th IBCT preset support mission in Baumholder, Germany. (Photo by CW2 Neuman Mason, 317th Maintenance Company)

One of the most noticeable recurring support missions is preset. Preset enhances a unit's equipment readiness posture through the inspection, service, repair, and code-out of equipment before a unit's deployment to a combat zone. The brigade's preset support missions provide a vital service to the warfighter.

The original idea behind the preset support missions was to inspect and repair crew-served weapons for USAREUR-based brigade combat teams. The 16th Sustainment Brigade has provided deployment preset support to the 2d Stryker Calvary Regiment (SCR), the 54th Engineer Battalion, and the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). The preset missions evolved from servicing crew-served weapons exclusively to servicing individual weapons and communications and electronics equipment as well.

The most recent preset support missions included inspection and repair of crew-served and individual weapons and communications and electronics equipment. In addition to conducting preset support for deploying units, the Soldiers of the 317th Maintenance Company provided reset support to USAREUR units redeploying from various areas of responsibility. The 317th Maintenance Company also supported the 21st Theater Support Command's left-behind equipment program by installing Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) installation kits into vehicles inducted into the program. A contracted civilian maintenance team typically did this mission.

2d SCR Preset Support Mission
The 2d SCR preset support mission was the first preset support mission conducted after the 16th Sustainment Brigade returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom. The brigade provided a 13-Soldier armament repair team to provide support onsite at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany. During the course of the mission, the armament team repaired and inspected 682 crew-served weapons for the 2d SCR.

The armament team began by identifying and requisitioning the initial class IX (repair parts) push package needed to support the 2d SCR. The armament team spent 2,600 man-hours inspecting and repairing deficiencies during the preset mission, which optimized the unit's operational readiness. Overseas contingency operations funds were used to fund the push package for this mission. The armament team conducted a comprehensive after-action review at the end of the mission to help improve future preset support operations.

54th Engineer Battalion Preset Support Mission
The 16th Sustainment Brigade conducted another preset mission in 2010 to support the 54th Engineer Battalion as the battalion prepared for its Operation Enduring Freedom deployment. The unit requested the preset support for its weapons and requested communications and electronics support for its night-vision devices and communications equipment.

Overseas contingency operations funding covered the cost of the class IX used to support the preset mission for the unit. Over the course of the preset mission, the communications and electronics team spent 328 man-hours completing inspections and repairs on 656 pieces of equipment. The armament team spent 1,268 man-hours inspecting and repairing 663 weapons for 5 units within the 54th Engineer Battalion.

Spartan Field Kitchen
Armament repairers assigned to the 317th Maintenance Company perform inspections and maintenance on weapons during the 170th IBCT preset support mission. (Photo by CW2 Neuman Mason, 317th Maintenance Company)

170th IBCT Preset Support Mission
In preparation for an upcoming deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), the 170th IBCT asked the 16th Sustainment Brigade to provide armament and communications and electronics preset support. The 170th IBCT preset mission was conducted in two phases. During the first phase, the teams provided preset support for the 3d Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment. During the second phase, the team provided preset support operations for the rest of the 170th IBCT, which would deploy later. All 170th IBCT preset support was conducted at the unit's location at Smith Barracks in Baumholder, Germany.

During the first phase, the communications and electronics team spent 465 man-hours repairing and inspecting 932 pieces of equipment, and the armament team spent 2,347 man-hours inspecting and repairing 1,368 weapons. Overall, the teams spent $102,000 on class IX during this phase.

The second phase was to conduct preset maintenance for the rest of the brigade. Over the course of this phase, 422 weapons and 833 night-vision devices and pieces of communications and electronics equipment were inspected and repaired. Cumulatively, the Soldiers of the 16th Sustainment Brigade spent 1,004 man-hours inspecting and repairing weapons and communications and electronics equipment, which improved the 170th IBCT's readiness posture in preparation for the unit's imminent deployment to OEF.

12th Combat Aviation Brigade Reset Support
The 317th Maintenance Company performed armament and communications and electronics reset support for the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. Reset involves the restoration of a unit's equipment to a level of combat capability commensurate with a unit's future missions. The maintenance team reset 363 pieces of equipment ranging from crew-served weapons to night-vision devices and communications and electronics equipment. The Soldiers completed work usually done by the Army Materiel Command's small-arms repair and evaluation and communications and electronics evaluation and repair teams.

SINCGARS Installation Kit Support
In addition to the preset support mission, the 16th Sustainment Brigade's Soldiers have been actively engaged in providing support for USAREUR. One of the most notable support missions was a tasking from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command to install SINCGARS installation kits in vehicles that were scheduled to be returned to the owning unit from the USAREUR left-behind equipment program. Civilian contract personnel had performed this task in the past. The brigade saved more than $323,000 by using its Soldiers to conduct the installations in lieu of the civilian contract personnel. During the mission, the Soldiers installed 80 SINCGARs installation kits.

Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa
The 16th Sustainment Brigade provided personnel to support units in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. The brigade sent four personnel to Africa to conduct weapons gauging, review supply support activity materiel management, and forecast future sustainment requirements in support of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. The Soldiers deployed to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, in February 2011 in support of the 16th Sustainment Brigade's full-spectrum operations mission-essential task list.

The 16th Sustainment Brigade provided sustainment in numerous geographical areas to support training operations. The brigade's support to units in USAREUR and U.S. Army Africa demonstrated its capabilities. Conducting these missions not only supported the units the brigade was working with but also helped its Soldiers to hone their skills.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dane A. Patterson is the senior automotive warrant officer for the Support Operations Maintenance Branch, 16th Sustainment Brigade, in Bamberg, Germany. He holds an associate's degree in general studies from the University of Maryland, an associate's degree in electromechanical technology from Excelsior College, a B.S. degree in management studies from the University of Maryland, and an M.A. degree in human resources management from Webster University. He is a graduate of the Warrant Officer Candidate, Basic, Advanced, and Staff Courses.

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