The seaport in Alexandroupoli, Greece is currently supporting the movement of hundreds of U.S. Army equipment items for the upcoming iteration of Atlantic Resolve. The 598th Transportation Brigade, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and the 21st Theater Sustainment Command began offloading nearly 400 vehicles and containers at Alexandroupoli to include tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and a variety of support equipment on Tuesday, July 20. The equipment belongs to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas. The 1st ABCT is the eighth armored brigade to deploy to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve. Following initial staging at the port, the equipment will move by rail and commercial line-haul to forward operating locations in central and eastern Europe.
Alexandroupoli’s strategically located seaport has become a critically important transportation and logistical hub for U.S. Army forces.
“The current operation represents the culmination of all the efforts that the U.S. Army, along with our interagency partners at the U.S. Embassy, our allies in Greece and our industry partners, have put in place to leverage the capabilities of this tremendous port,” said Col. Joshua D. Hirsch, Commander, 598th TBDE. “In the last two weeks alone, we’ve redeployed equipment from DEFENDER-Europe 21 and uploaded equipment from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division as it heads home following the completion of its own Atlantic Resolve rotation. It’s not only the amount of equipment we’re now able to move through Alexandroupoli, it’s also the type of equipment. For example, this is the very first time we’ve used the port to support the arrival and departure of M1s, Bradleys and other armored and tracked vehicles. That’s an incredible milestone for the entire team here.”
In 2019, the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and commercial partners successfully completed a dredging operation at the Alexandroupoli port involving the removal of a sunken barge called the ‘Olga’ which had previously limited use of the facility’s capabilities. “Over the last two and half years, Alexandroupoli has developed into one of the most vital ports in Europe for the movement of Army equipment,” said Andre J. Cameron, Director, Transportation Corps, Eastern Mediterranean (Greece). “The investments in the port’s infrastructure have been a true strategic success for the Army and our partners. We’ve gone from essentially conducting ‘zero operations’ at the port to conducting eight port operations in the last year alone. We’ve now proven we can move aviation and armored units at Alexandroupoli, using both commercial line-haul and rail. Basically, we can do it all here.”
In many ways, the port’s location is as important as its capabilities.
“We’ve worked hard to diversify the range of seaports able to support Army forces all across Europe," added Hirsch. "What the team has achieved here in Alexandroupoli provides additional strategic maneuver options for land-force commanders in the southern European region. Working with our allies and partners, this port will allow us to move combat power, rapidly and effectively, in an increasingly critical part of our area of operations.”
The 1st ABCT, 1st ID is deploying with approximately 3,800 Soldiers, 80 tanks, 130 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 10 Bradley (Variant) Fire Support Team vehicles, 15 Paladins, 500 tracked vehicles, 850 trailers and 1500 wheeled vehicles and other pieces of equipment. The 1st ABCT’s equipment is also arriving at ports located in Gdansk and Gdynia, Poland and Klaipeda, Lithuania, in addition to the port in Alexandroupoli.
“The initial offload of 1st ABCT’s equipment was executed without a hitch,” said Lt. Col. Carey E. Way, Commander, 839th Transportation BN. “We’ve got a ‘Team of Teams’ at the port that includes the deploying unit, 21st TSC, Military Sealift Command and terminal operations personnel from our commercial partners. We’ve been working together well over several port operations here and we’ve got the right kind of relationships to make complex transportation and logistics movements like this happen smoothly and safely.”
The deployment of ready, combat-credible U.S. forces to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve is evidence of the strong and unremitting U.S. commitment to NATO and Europe. Through bilateral, joint, and multinational training, Atlantic Resolve builds readiness, increases interoperability, and enhances the bond between ally and partner militaries.
All movements of personnel and equipment are conducted while adhering to the prevention and protection guidance directed by the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Centers for Disease Control, host nation governments, and local authorities to proactively mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The health, safety, and security of U.S. personnel and U.S. allies, partners, and local populations is a DOD priority.
For more information on the U.S. Army’s contribution to Atlantic Resolve visit https://www.EuropeAfrica.army.mil/AtlanticResolve/.