EYGELSHOVEN, Netherlands — The team at Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux paid fitting tribute to one of their own recently as a sign of respect and admiration.
To honor his legacy of service and pay respects to him and his family, the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s AFSBn-Benelux transported Wiel Hendriks via Humvee to his final resting place at Kerkrade, Netherlands, Dec. 17.
Hendriks served 35 years with the U.S. Army in the Netherlands, first in Schinnen and then in Eygelshoven. The Dutch Ministry of Defense employee who worked as a heavy wheeled mechanic at the 405th AFSB’s Army Prepositioned Stock-2 worksite in Eygelshoven had a final request before his death. He wanted to have his body carried by Humvee, his favorite Army vehicle, to a location where his family, coworkers and life-long friends could pay their last respects.
“I met Wiel (Hendriks) on my first day of in-processing when I arrived at the unit,” said Sgt. 1st Class Roberto Ortiz, AFSBn-Benelux support operations maintenance noncommissioned officer in charge. “He was such a nice guy, and we became good friends. He took my children to a petting zoo and to the parks. He invited us to dinner and introduced us to Dutch food.”
“My girls were ages 3, 6 and 8 at the time,” said Ortiz. “I told them Wiel (Hendriks) was their Dutch grandpa, and to this day they still believe it.”
Born in Nieuwenhagen, Netherlands, on Christmas Eve in 1955, Hendriks had the personality of Santa Claus — always giving and so caring of others. He was also an expert at his technical craft.
“One time he asked me about a broken seatbelt on a vehicle,” Ortiz said. “I was quite surprised Wiel (Hendriks) was able to disassemble the seat belt mechanism and repair it instead of taking the easy route and replacing it with a new one.”
“That was really my first introduction to him at work, and I was very impressed, as is everyone at our APS-2 site,” said Ortiz.
Martin Van Dijk is a coworker of Hendriks’ at APS-2 Eygelshoven who has always been impressed by his friend. They started working for the Army together in 1986. When Hendriks was placed in the back of the Humvee, it was Dijk who assisted with securing his casket.
Dijk also helped with the authorization process, as did Ortiz and others. They were able to secure chain of command approval to use the Humvee and Dutch Department of Motor Vehicle authorization to transport Hendriks to his final resting place in the Army truck.
Dijk said Hendriks’ last request was to travel by Humvee and his last words were “remember me, remember me in the shining sun — how I was when I could do everything.”
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, 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.