1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade “Wagonmasters” bring together months of training and preparation to start loading equipment for Defender Europe 2020, Fort Hood, Texas, Jan. 30, 2020.
The 1st Cav. Div. Sust. Bde. sets out to deploy early this year for Defender Europe 2020, the biggest deployment of U.S. troops to the Europe for an exercise in the last 25 years. This training exercises the “Wagonmasters” ability to support the 1st Cavalry Division in their mission to quickly build combat power within the Europen theatre.
“We are the heaviest division in the United States Army, in order to apply that pressure and apply that lethality we need to have sustainment in order to do that,” Said Maj. Don Moyer, 1st Cav. Div. Sust. Bde. Operations Officer.
The Wagonmasters support themselves and 1st Cav. Div. in loading 220 vehicles at the Fort Hood Rail Operations Center (ROC). The movements they make now reassure allies that they can rapidly deploy in support of large-scale ground combat operations.
“Getting our chance to move as a divisional size element is really going to set the stage for how we are going to fight in the future,” said Moyer. “We are prepared to go forward and provide world-class sustainment anywhere in the world.”
Over 40 members of the “Wagonmaster” team trudge over the mounds of gravel at the ROC and board the seemingly never-ending line of railroad cars to mount and tie down the vehicles in preparation of their journey to Europe. One of the officers in charge during the operations, Capt. Nathaniel McDermott, 1st Cav. Div. Sust. Bde. Distribution Integration Branch Chief talks about the rewarding yet demanding work that goes into it all.
“It’s a lot of hard work, it’s physically intense,” said McDermott. “This is something we can be proud, what we signed up to do.”
Once the vehicles are ready to move by rail, they will start their journey to Europe, with the “Wagonmaster” team arriving shortly after.
“It’s actions not words, it says to our allies is that it’s not just a plan on paper, but that the United States Army is capable of executing,” said McDermott.
As the “Wagonmasters” arrive in Europe they will take part in a 3-day convoy across Germany to Graff training area. Commander of the 1st Cav. Div. Sust. Bde., Col. Patrick A. Disney, believes the organization is ready for the exercise to come.
“I’m very confident, the sky is the limit for the Wagonmasters,” said Disney. “We are professional, credible, reliable, and disciplined in everything that we do.”
DEFENDER-Europe 20 demonstrates the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy a large combat-credible force from the U.S. to Europe to support NATO and respond to a crisis. Once in Europe, U.S. service members will spread out across the region to participate in various annual exercises with our allies and partners. DEFENDER-Europe 20 will conclude with the redeployment of U.S.-based forces and equipment. For more information, visit www.eur.army.mil/DefenderEurope.
By Spc. Calab Franklin, U.S. Army