21 Theater Sustainment Command, 598 Transportation Brigade make history in Denmark

Members of the Danish Home Guard provide security for U.S. vehicles and equipment being staged by the 260th Movement Control Team, 16th Sustainment Brigade for onward movement to Eastern Europe during port operations in Aarhus, Denmark, January 16, 2023. The equipment is issued to 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in support of their Atlantic Resolve deployment. It was the first time the U.S. Army staged a port operation in Aarhus. These deployments 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.

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command received armored vehicles and equipment at the port of Aarhus, Denmark, for the first time in January, expanding the U.S. Army’s use of strategically located ports across Europe. The shipment was part of more than 2,500 equipment items assigned to the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, deployed to Europe for Atlantic Resolve. Additional equipment has been and will be received through ports in Vlissingen, Netherlands, and Riga, Latvia, in January.

Denmark’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, Danish Defence Vice Chief of Joint Operations Gen. Jette Albinus and U.S. Embassy in Denmark’s Deputy Chief of Missions Jennifer Hall Godfrey were among local, national, military and media representatives who toured the port Jan. 16, and were briefed by 598th Transportation Brigade Commander (Surface Deployment and Distribution Command) Col. Robert Kellam and 260th Movement Control Team Commander Cpt. Karl Bliven.

Citing a heightened security situation in the Baltic region and Europe as a whole Ellemann-Jensen said Denmark’s geographical location makes it an important staging and training area for U.S. and Allied Forces, and Aarhus was well-situated for the Atlantic Resolve deployment.

“It’s home to Denmark’s largest business harbor,” said Ellemann-Jensen. “The deployment through Aarhus is more than just unloading military equipment from a ship. It’s a signal of American solidarity with Europe for Ukraine and Denmark, with your NATO Allies in Europe. It shows that America, once again, takes an immense responsibility for peace in this part of the world, and we really appreciate this.

“It demonstrates that Denmark, as one part of our commitment to NATO’s collective defense, is ready to welcome U.S. Forces and do whatever we can to make transit operations run as smooth as possible. At a time where…democratic values, maybe even universal values, are under pressure, it’s absolutely essential that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Allies.”

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 260th Movement Control Team received, staged and prepared nearly 700 vehicles and equipment items, including joint light tactical vehicles, Humvees and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles for onward movement to eastern Europe using commercial line-haul.

According to Bliven, planning with host nation support and the Danish port authority began in November. “It’s an incredible feat to move so much equipment across the ocean and across Europe,” said Bliven. “Since we’ve been here, the cooperation between the Danish military and also the civilian Danish logistic network has been smooth and easy. It’s a testament to how well we work together.”

He said operating for the first time in Aarhus signals U.S. Army preparedness. “We want to utilize as many harbors in Europe as possible to show that we have that capability,” said Bliven. “We can have our equipment arrive anywhere in Europe and be able to conduct successful operations where we need to.”

Key to the U.S. successfully accomplishing that objective is strong host nation support, according to Danish Defence Command Deputy Chief of Staff of Logistics, Col. Jens Riis-Vestergaard.

“Its hugely important because of the current situation we are in with the illegal attack from Russia on Ukraine,” said Riis-Vestergaard. “The ability of the alliance of NATO to stand together to support each other is more important than ever. That’s really fundamental to this operation.

“That is the entire reason why the U.S. is having this deployment through this harbor. The U.S. is [going to] different harbor areas in Europe to paint a picture that there is huge support from the U.S. to Europe and its allies.

“Every activity we do together enhances interoperability. Interoperability begins with good communication and then it goes all the way to common doctrine, common standards, ability to work together in the field eventually. An exercise like this is hugely supported from the top down all the way to the bottom to the tactical level. This is really good experience for the Danish Armed Forces.”

21st TSC Commanding General Maj. Gen. James Smith said the command has successfully used the port of Esbjerg, Denmark, in the past and intends to utilize the Danish port of Aalborg in the future.

“In partnership with our Danish allies, we are developing the ability to conduct simultaneous port operations in Esbjerg, Aarhus and Aalborg, enhancing U.S. and NATO military mobility and strengthening relationships and capabilities in the Baltic Sea region.”

Since April 2014, U.S. Army Europe and Africa has led the Department of Defense’s Atlantic Resolve land efforts by bringing units based in the U.S. to Europe on a rotational basis. Deployed units are ready, combat-capable forces able to conduct extensive bilateral, joint, and multilateral training throughout its deployments to more than a dozen countries in Europe. Moreover, Atlantic Resolve enables the U.S. to enhance deterrence, increase readiness and support NATO.

For more information, visit www.EuropeAfrica.army.mil/AtlanticResolve