ANSBACH, Germany – When the call goes out for help, Soldiers answer. And that’s just what Soldier for Life Wes Johnson did when he received the call, recently.
Johnson, who served as a Soldier from 1988 to 1992, was at home relaxing when Logistics Readiness Center-Ansbach Director Ruth Brock called him. It was well into the evening, and Johnson had just finished an 8-hour work day at the LRC-Ansbach Central Issue Facility where he serves as the accountable officer and manager.
Brock, who is Johnson’s supervisor, needed a CIF employee to come back into work. An important mission was underway, and the CIF forklift as well as an operator was needed immediately.
Johnson, who has been working as an Army civilian for about 30 years, could have asked one of his CIF employees to return to work to help, but he wasn’t about to do that, he said.
Instead, the former mechanized infantry Soldier hopped into his vehicle and made the drive back to work. By the time he arrived, it was about 7 p.m. He started the forklift up and made the 1-mile trek from CIF to the old fitness center on Barton Barracks.
Still not knowing what the mission was, Johnson arrived at the fitness center and was greeted by the LRC-Ansbach director, emergency management personnel and a representative from the American Red Cross.
The mission – load 15,000 American Red Cross comfort item sundry packs onto more than 20 pallets and prepare the pallets to be loaded onto trucks and delivered to Ramstein Air Base that night for Afghan evacuees arriving there as part of Operation Allies Refuge.
Johnson immediately jumped into action and went to work.
“They were already moving the items up to the door so I could get them out of the building. We staged them outside because we had to wait for the trucks to come that night. The trucks got there about 1 a.m., and we loaded the trucks for about an hour and a half or so. And that was that,” said Johnson.
“At the time, I thought those kits were going over to Afghanistan, and the Red Cross was going to need them to help the people over there,” said Johnson. “I didn’t actually know that Afghan people were being flown into Ramstein Air Base in Germany and being housed there.”
“But anytime I can help people, hey, let me help,” said Johnson, who first arrived in Germany in 1989 and has been here on and off for over 20 years. “I told the LRC director if there’s anything else I can do, put my name in the hat so I can help these people more.”
“It’s makes me proud to be of help, to give my little two cents worth of whatever I can do – to represent the 405th AFSB – and to help these people out,” said Johnson, who worked for the Defense Logistics Agency at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, for 10 years before coming back to Germany. “I wish I could go and help them some more.”
Johnson said he worked for about 8 hours that evening supporting the Operation Allies Refuge mission. He worked late into the night and early into the morning the next day to get the job done.
“That’s what America’s all about. When people are in need, we help. That’s what we do,” said Johnson, who has been working as the CIF manager in Ansbach since 2018.
“I like working at LRC-Ansbach. I like my leadership, and Ansbach is a nice little quiet Bavarian town. The family likes it, and I like it, too,” said Johnson who has three children and has been married for about 12 years.
And as far as working at CIF where Johnson and his team issue Soldiers stationed in Ansbach all the equipment they need for use in garrison and during combat deployments, the CIF manager said it’s all about supporting the warrior.
“That’s the main reason we are here – for the Soldiers. We are a support unit so that’s what we do – we support,” he said.