KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Evacuees from Afghanistan began arriving in Kaiserslautern this week as part of Operation Allies Refuge.
Initially, the Deployment Processing Center at Rhine Ordnance Barracks here – configured to accommodate just over 2,200 people – was activated to support the arriving Afghan evacuees, but thanks to the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s contracting capabilities as part of its Logistics Civil Augmentation Program-Europe, ROB’s capability will increase by 3,000 more in the next few days to a total of more than 5,200.
Additionally, LOGCAP-Europe has issued a contract to support 1,200 more individuals at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, at part of Operation Allies Refuge, which is also scheduled to be fully operational in the next few days.
The 405th AFSB LOGCAP contracts will provide fest tents, containerized shower systems, containerized latrine systems, a laundry capability for individuals and for linens, a full-service dining capability, cots and everything else life support related, said Michael Johnson, LOGCAP-Europe senior planner for the 405th AFSB.
Johnson said this no notice mission, from concept to execution, was completed in record time.
“I’ve seen LOGCAP in the past operate super-fast,” said Johnson. “In weeks, we’ve supported exercises. In just 10 days, we supported a regionally aligned forces rotation of a thousand Soldiers, but what happened with Operation Allies Refuge – we were able to receive notice on Friday they might need something. By Saturday night we issued the contract to increase capacity by an additional 3,000. In four days, we had equipment arriving on site and in an additional four days, the site will be fully operational.”
Although this is one of the first no notice requirements for LOGCAP, Johnson said all the exercises and training up until now – the Defender Europe, Saber Guardian and Saber Strike exercises – have definitely prepared the 405th AFSB for this.
“I think the most amazing thing about this operation as a whole is – pretty much every military member I’ve talked to who has done a deployment to Afghanistan has had some sort of positive experience with the Afghan population,” said Johnson. “So I think the entire military community has made it a priority to make this happen. Because of that – from the senior leadership all the way down to the individuals on the ground – every single person is motivated. I think that is the number one reason this is happening so quickly and so efficiently.”
The process was flattened as much as possible, and everything that is required to be done to get the contractor on the ground to execute has happened, said Johnson.
“Previously, we have moved quickly, but not at this speed and this capacity,” said Michael Johnson, Logistics Civil Augmentation Program-Europe senior planner for the 405th Army Field Support Brigade.
Johnson said the 405th AFSB has also been tasked to increase capability at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, to support 1,200 more personnel – to include beds, tents, latrines, showers, food service and all life support needs.
“The contractors are mobilizing now and are expecting to have the first 600 beds ready either tonight or tomorrow. The next 600 will be available about three days after that, and by the end of the week we’re going to have the capacity in place to support 1,200 individuals down at Camp Bondsteel,” Johnson said.
Operation Allies Refuge is facilitating the quick, safe evacuation of U.S. citizens, Special Immigrant Visa applicants and other at-risk Afghans from Afghanistan. This initiative follows through on America’s commitment to Afghan citizens who have helped the United States, and provides them essential support at secure locations, where they and their families can complete the SIV process safely.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command 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.