Supporting Afghanistan from Europe: U.S. Army Europe's 21st Theater Support Command

Article excerpt

When the European Command needed logistics capability to support U.S. Central Command's (CENTCOM's) humanitarian relief and combat operations in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Europe's (USAREUR's) 21st Theater Support Command (TSC) rose to the challenge. The 21st TSC prepared over 2.2 million humanitarian daily rations, 1.7 million pounds of wheat, and nearly 69,000 blankets for airdrop to contribute to humanitarian relief efforts in Afghanistan as part of its twofold mission. It also prepared for airdrop over 2,500 container delivery systems containing all classes of supplies that were precision dropped to U.S. and allied forces on the ground in Afghanistan.

"This was a great example of how a TSC can task organize, focus on a mission and then bring the full brunt of its power to bear to achieve success," said Lt. Col. Richard Mason, 191 Ordnance Battalion and Task Force Firepower commander. "That's focused logistics-- out of the box-something a TSC is designed to do without degrading the combat power of a corps or division."'

More than 400 U.S. active duty and reserve soldiers, civilians, local nationals and German military members coming from various USAREUR units, including V Corps and the 21st TSC, along with the German air force and army, were involved in 21st TSC's Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) missions.

While supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, those units worked with or fell under Task Force Firepower, which was organized around the 191st Ordnance Battalion, a multifunctional battalion. The bulk of the task force was composed of soldiers from the 5th Quartermaster Company (Rigger), the 23rd Ordnance Company (Ammo) and the 251st Cargo Transfer Company of the 191st Ordnance Battalion, and the 421st Quartermaster Company (Rigger), a reserve unit from Fort Valley, Ga., that was mobilized in November to assist with the Operation Enduring Freedom airdrop mission. Task Force Firepower was the lead USAREUR element responsible for the receipt, storing, packaging and shipping of combat equipment, sustainment supplies and humanitarian assistance in support of CENTCOM. The 21st TSC's General Support Center Europe pushed supplies and airdrop support materiel once the 200th Materiel Management Center (MMC) cut requisitions and secured the items. …