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News | April 23, 2024

18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion conducts convoy support center operations in support of Saber Strike 2024


The 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (18th CSSB) deployed a team of fuelers and maintainers to establish a level-two convoy support center (CSC-LVL II) in Wettiner-Kaserne from April 10-13. The CSC was a critical logistical node for the convoys from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2CR) as they conducted a road march from Grafenwöhr to training sites in Lithuania in support of the Saber Strike 24 (SbS24) mission within the Defender Europe 2024 exercise construct.

A CSC-LVL II consists of a fuel point where both, retail and bulk fuel, can be dispensed to customer units and a maintenance area where mechanics can supplement the convoy’s own complement with critical repairs to keep the convoy operational and moving forward to their next destination.

While the convoys heading towards the Baltics were conducting training missions, this CSC is a real-world operation for the Soldiers of 493rd Company, 18th CSSB who fueled and supported convoys from the early morning to well past midnight daily.

“Although it’s a training exercise for 2CR, this gives us a test to see what our capabilities are when it comes to supporting a mission like this,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Gonzales, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the CSC fueling pad. “It’s been heavy so far, due to convoys sometimes going down and getting stretched out. We’ve practically been working 24-hour operations since we got on ground.”

Despite several logistic and maintenance challenges, the Soldiers stayed at their post and ensured operations didn’t cease until all the objectives were completed.

“Obviously they know that we have to do the job and they are trying to make the best of it,” said Gonzales. “If we don’t do our job this element will not be in the fight, which will affect the bigger picture.”

The U.S. Soldiers manning the CSC weren’t the only ones executing their real-world operational tasks either. The Bundeswehr (German Army) provided liaisons within Wettiner-Kaserne who coordinated the reception and staging of each convoy that made it to the CSC.

Master Sgt. Sören Kies was the linchpin between U.S. forces and the Bundeswehr personnel supporting this CSC operation at this Kaserne. "We have the experience on this base,” said Kies when explaining the importance of joint training, “but as we run through more convoys, we are getting better and faster.”

Support from German allies wasn’t limited to Wettiner-Kaserne either. Each convoy had a retinue of feldjäger (German Military Police) from Grafenwöhr, through the CSC, and ultimately at the German-Polish border where their charge was handed off to Polish escorts.

At the end of the day, this mission was accomplished by, with, and through Allies and Partners. This CSC in Wettiner-Kaserne is the critical steppingstone that will allow U.S. Forces and NATO to set this theater and deter our adversaries.