Story by Staff Sgt. Wallace Bonner
HOHENFELS, Germany — U.S. Soldiers from 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, joined a multinational effort to supply food and related supplies to units participating in the multinational exercise, Allied Spirit VIII at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Jan. 15 through Feb. 5, 2018.
“We’ve supplied about 900 meals so far, both breakfast and dinner,” said Spc. Jahvont Payne, food operation specialist, Company I, 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt.
Payne, who is responsible for managing resupply for 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt. from a warehouse at HTA, said his deployment with 2nd ABCT and his job as a food operation specialist has given him a great opportunity to work with soldiers and civilians from other countries.
“It’s an amazing experience, to work with people from other countries, and it’s what I joined the Army to do,” said Horton. “We learn a lot by working in this environment. They have a lot of equipment, and knowledge about different things that may be new to us, and vice versa.”
Getting food on the trucks is just one step of the process. Units also have to get their supplies distributed to their units in a tactical manner, as their trucks are a fair target for the opposition forces. This requires tactical convoy operations, which is where the U.S. 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, steps in.
“We are loading class I supplies (rations and subsistence) to distribute to the Polish brigade support battalion, so they can distribute it to the other units participating in this exercise,” said 2nd Lt. Austin Males, support platoon leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Special Troops Battalion. “We have two gun trucks to provide security, so if we get hit, we’ll execute the battle drills we have been going over.”
Males has also been learning a lot from working with the other countries.
“It’s really interesting because the way our logistics operate in the U.S. Army is a lot different than the way some of our Allies’ logistics operate,” said Males. “But we’re getting to the point where we’re establishing a rhythm and beginning to coordinate a little better.”
Military members from other countries have been learning from U.S. Soldiers as well.
“I’ve been deployed three times, so I’m used to working with other countries, especially the U.K. and the U.S.,” said 1st Lt. Mikael Arildso, commander, national support element, Denmark. “This is very beneficial for us. We’re not a big army, and Denmark will always be tied with other countries to make sure we provide for our soldiers.”
Approximately 4,100 participants from 10 nations are taking part in Allied Spirit VIII. Nearly 2,420 participants come from the U.S. and approximately 1,680 participants from allied and partner nations of Albania, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom. The primary objective for the exercise is to develop and enhance NATO and key partner interoperability and readiness across warfighting functions, including sustainment operations.