Decisive superiority in any battle, whether it is actual combat or an exercise at a combat training center (CTC), ultimately depends on support provided by outstanding soldiers like those of the 51st Maintenance Battalion in Mannheim, Germany. The highly trained and motivated soldiers of the "Victory Battalion" stand by their motto, "Victory Through Support."
CTC's are the most significant training concept developed by the Army in the past 20 years. They provide soldiers and leaders opportunities to exercise warfighting skills in a realistic yet controlled environment. These centers also provide occasions for warfighting units to integrate into task forces and for support units to realign to support them. A perfect example of this integration occurred when an echelons-above-corps (EAC) unit, the 29th Support Group (also known as Task Force Log), in Kaiserslautern, Germany, acted as the command and control headquarters in the division support area (DSA) of the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) in Hohenfels, Germany, during CMTC 98-08 in the summer of 1998. Elements of the 51st Maintenance Battalion and the 191st Ordnance Battalion augmented this brigade-sized headquarters. The remainder of the 51st Maintenance Battalion, also known as Task Force 51, located 104 kilometers from Hohenfels in Amberg, Germany, functioned as a forward support battalion in the brigade support area (BSA). The traditional EAC logistics unitthe 29th Support Group plus elements of the two battalionstask-organized into a multifunctional logistics unit to support the Southern European Task Force's (SETAF's) Lion Brigade, which was augmented by heavy forces, such as the 1st Infantry Division's 1-63d Armor Battalion (Heavy), during their first-ever combined light and heavy rotation.
Designing the proper logistics task force for this rotation began with a detailed look at the aviation, armor, artillery, and light infantry forces that would be integrated into one fighting force. Several train-ups were required, which took more than 10 months, because the elements of the task force were spread out in Germany and Italy. During that time, key staff members and commanders changed.
We determined that the best way to support an ad hoc unit during the CMTC rotation would be to integrate the logistics forces, then task-organize them to support the maneuver unit. At the same time, the battalion Support Operations and S3 elements were redesigned and augmentees were added as planners. These units, as part of Task Force Log, conducted DSA operations throughout the rotation. Task Force 51 acted as a forward support battalion in the BSA.
The SETAF Lion Brigade, Task Force Log, and Task Force 51 deployed to Hohenfels for the initial train-up. The "logistics of the logistics" for the initial train-up was challenging. Task Force 51 traveled by rail from Mannheim and Kaiserslautern, Germany, and other elements traveled by wheel. During the train-ups, we focused on ways to maximize the use of Standard Army Management Information Systems (STAMIS's), such as the Standard Army Maintenance System (SAMS) and the Standard Army Retail Supply System (SARSS), and the Defense Transportation Recording and Control System (DTRACS) to enhance the warfighting capability of the Lion Brigade.
Our goal was to roll up 22 ad hoc, company-sized units into one for the purpose of generating a consolidated not-mission-capable maintenance report (026 deadline report) by SAMS. Units delivered Unit Level Logistics System (ULLS) disks to the BSA daily for processing on the SAMS computer, which was provided by the Lion Brigade's forward support company. Requisitions for normal prescribed load list items were filled on site by the servicing supply support activity. Requisitions for high-priority parts were expedited using the 200th Theater Army Materiel Management Center's SARSS computer terminal. The goal was to ensure that the Lion Brigade Task Force began offensive and defensive operations with 90 percent of their combat systems in mission-capable condition.
Soldiers of the 51st Maintenance Battalion repair an M1 Abrams tank at a unit maintenance collection point.
We developed our estimates for the appropriate classes of supply based on a 3,200-soldier force. The 512th Maintenance Company, augmented by the 574th Supply and Services Company (-) (both 51st Maintenance Battalion units located in the DSA), acted as a transportation company as well as a supply company.
Class I (subsistence). The 512th and the 574th used their internal assets to receive, store, and distribute rations over an approximately 100-kilometer radius on a 3-day, 2-day, 3-day cycle of T-rations and meals, ready to eat.
Our bulk water production, distribution, and storage operations included one 3,000-gallon-per-hour and one 600-gallon-per-hour reverse osmosis water purification unit (ROWPU). Together, they purified 72,000 gallons of water from the Vils River per day, which was distributed by semitrailer-mounted fabric tanks (SMFT) to the BSA located approximately 15 kilometers away. We set up two onionskin bags inside the combat trains of Task Force 1-508th Infantry (Light), a subordinate unit of the Lion Brigade, for water distribution and storage within the maneuver rights area, also called "the box" (the area that had been made available for our use by Germany).
Class II (clothing and individual equipment). Task Force 51 developed a contingency package of organizational clothing and individual equipment, which was manually hand-receipted from a central issue facility in Mannheim, to support soldiers who may have lost items during the intensive training for the CMTC rotation. Units were required to bring a 30-day supply of other class II items.
Class III (petroleum, oils, and lubricants [POL]). Task Force 51 deployed with nine 5,000-gallon tankers and a 24-point refuel-on-the-move capability. Based on the nondoctrinal geographic locations of the DSA and the BSA, Task Force Log maintained five tankers, one of which was devoted exclusively to supporting Task Force Aviation, another element of the Lion Brigade's combat team, during different phases of the battle. The Lion Brigade's S4 required units to deploy with 15 days' worth of packaged class III. Task Force 51 used the Integrated Logistics Analysis Program to locate critical packaged class III, which had been identified previously by the Lion Brigade's 1-63d Armor Task Force. This initiative paid large dividends in the end.
Class IV (construction and barrier materials). During the initial planning phase, units identified and preconfigured class IV packages that would be called forward on an as-needed basis during battle. Task Force Log, in its DSA capacity, controlled and distributed class IV that had been throughput to the Lion Brigade.
Class V (ammunition). The 5th Maintenance Company, a subordinate unit of the 51st Maintenance Battalion located in the BSA, managed all ammunition transfers in the BSA. This was a nontraditional function for this company, but it proved to be an expedient way of getting the job done. The 23d Ordnance Company, a 191st Ordnance Battalion unit, managed ammunition in the DSA at Hohenfels.
Communications. The 44th Signal Battalion, 7th Signal Brigade, 5th Signal Command, of Mannheim, brought to the rotation a robust signal package that used tactical phones and a local area network (LAN) to place and receive Internet, email, and local Defense Switched Network (DSN) communications. Most importantly, the package provided both LAN and DSN lines that were used to input data to SARSS.
Because we are Ordnance officers, SAMS, ULLS, and SARSS are our first loves; however, DTRACS proved to be the system of the day. Our original intent was to track logpacks, which were traveling 104 kilometers twice daily. However, we also needed to be able to receive information about deadlined vehicles. Because of the distance from the BSA to the unit maintenance collection point, we could not receive timely information about deadlined tanks via SAMS, ULLS, or SARSS. DTRACS not only facilitated transfer of information on deadlined warfighting vehicles, it also allowed the logistics headquarters to track casualties, exchange battlefield tactics, and counter hostile situations that threatened the transfer of ammunition in the BSA.
Task Force 51 overcame many other challenges during the CMTC rotation. For example
All in all, what did Victory Battalion achieve at CMTC rotation 98-08? The Lion Brigade began defensive and offensive operations with 90 percent of its combat power. We successfully achieved STAMIS connectivity for the first time at the CMTC. We successfully used a theater maintenance company to transfer 100 tons of ammunition without incident. We transported 115,000 gallons of fuel and 100,000 gallons of water, distributed more than 76,800 meals, and processed more than 250 mock casualties in an 8-day period. We successfully expedited more than 800 requisitions for high-priority parts. We used direct support assets from the 701st Main Support Battalion's Forward Support Company and internal assets from the 51st Maintenance Battalion to drive more than 1,664 accident-free kilometers. Task Force 51 proved that when you are "in the box," you have to think, plan, and support "out of the box."
Tailoring logistics packages to support ad hoc units is the course of the future. Nontraditional is becoming traditional. The relationships of the 29th Support Group to SETAF and the 51st Maintenance Battalion to the Lion Brigade are clear indications that functional battalions located in the theater can and will provide support in nontraditional and nondoctrinal areas. The functions of EAC units are not limited to managing port operations, moving units into a theater, or remaining in garrison to support units that do not deploy. These units are trained, flexible, and ready to support contingency operations throughout the U.S. European Command's theater of operations. ALOG
Major Hurmayonne W. Morgan is the Secretary of the General Staff, 21st Theater Support Command, Kaiserslautern, Germany. She has a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of South Carolina and a master's degree in management from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a graduate of the Ordnance Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Supply Officer Course, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and the Army Command and General Staff College.
Lieutenant Colonel Gerald A. Dolinish is the Deputy Commander of the 29th Support Group, 21st Theater Support Command, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. When this article was written, he was the Commander of the 51st Maintenance Battalion. He has a master's degree in education from Kansas State University and is a graduate of the Signal Officer Basic Course, Ordnance Officer Advanced Course, Army Command and General Staff College, Airborne School, and Ranger School.