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News | June 11, 2024

Battalion that supported vital mission in response to Russian aggression changes leadership

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

The battalion that made history when it issued hundreds of Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 tactical vehicles and equipment pieces to the XVIII Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division on a no notice rapid deployment to Europe in response to Russian aggression as part of Operation Assure and Deter changed leadership June 10.

Army Lt. Col. George Horne assumed command of Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux from Lt. Col. Blake Smith during a change of command ceremony at the APS-2 worksite in Eygelshoven. The 405th Army Field Support Brigade commander, Col. Ernest Lane II, officiated the ceremony and provided guest remarks.

Smith, who served as the commander of AFSBn-Benelux for two years, also led his team in issuing several hundred pieces of mission critical APS-2 equipment valued at over $80 million as part of the Presidential Drawdown Authority initiative. In addition to this, Smith was the first commander of the Remote Maintenance and Distribution Cell-Ukraine in southwest Poland. His next assignment will be with U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, as the Logistics Directorate (J4) Sensitive Activities Division chief.

Horne comes to AFSBn-Benelux from the U.S. Army Europe and Africa headquarters where he served as the lead planner for large-scale global exercises and as a key member of the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine. Some of Horne’s other recent assignments include executive officer of the Oklahoma Recruiting Battalion and executive officer of 46th Aviation Support Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade. He also deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007 and 2018.  

During his ceremonial remarks, Lane said Smith – who as the AFSBn-Benelux commander was responsible for an APS-2 workforce made up of hundreds of Soldiers, Army civilians, and Dutch and Belgian host nation employees at two worksites – enhanced his battalion’s mission by building a team that first recognizes its people and their achievements.

“He utilized his personal and professional experiences and expertise to facilitate multiple solutions to multiple challenges while taking care of his officers, NCOs, Army civilians, and the Belgian and Dutch host nation workforce under his command,” Lane said.

“As he departs us, Lieutenant Colonel Smith is leaving a legacy of logistical and Army Prepositioned Stock excellence,” said Lane. “While taking care of his team and persevering in a mission that demanded his best – the first to the highest of standards, all the time – there is no doubt his team will successfully continue with their mission tasks thanks to Lieutenant Colonel Smith’s caring and competent leadership,”

But According to Lane, as one great commander moves on, the Army sends another to pick up the leadership mantle and move the organization forward.

“I know you are a superb leader and outstanding logistician eager to get after command and take the battalion to even greater heights,” Lane said to Horne at the change of command ceremony. “You bring a great deal of experience to the 405th AFSB and Battalion Benelux, and we look forward to working with you. Trust me when I say you have my utmost support and confidence as you take command of Battalion Benelux and this critical mission.”

Battalion Benelux is one of the four battalions under the command and control of the 405th AFSB and is charged with receipt, transfer, storage and maintenance of APS-2 vehicles and equipment sets at the Eygelshoven APS-2 worksite in the Netherlands and the Zutendaal APS-2 worksite in Belgium. The battalion helps to enable commanders in conducting unified actions and performing a full range of military operations in support of U.S. Army Europe and Africa.

The 405th AFSB’s APS-2 program provides turn-key power projection packages ready to deploy at a moment’s notice while helping to reduce the amount of equipment needed from the deploying forces’ home stations. APS-2 battalions like AFSBn-Benelux help reduce deployment timelines, improve deterrence capabilities and provide additional combat power for contingency operations.

The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The brigade provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.