KOPER, Slovenia— Equipment from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Division Sustainment Brigade (‘Lifeliners’), arrived at the port here, October 9, 2022, as the unit began its deployment to Europe.
Approximately 800 equipment items arrived aboard the commercial cargo vessel Liberty Promise and will stage at the port in preparation for onward movement to locations in the European theater. The operation is the single largest deployment of U.S. Army equipment conducted at the port and is the culmination of months of planning and coordination.
“We’ve been working closely with our Slovenian allies and the 101st to ensure the reception, staging and onward movement of the 101st DSB’s equipment would be executed rapidly and safely,” said Lt. Col. Carey Way, 839th Transportation Battalion commander. “As soon as we received the Liberty Promise at the port, we were able to immediately begin downloading equipment and the cooperation between SDDC, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, 16th Sustainment Brigade, our Slovenian partners and the port has been tremendous.”
Efficiently moving the 101st DSB’s equipment from the port to follow-on locations in Poland and Romania via commercial rail and trucking is the responsibility of the 21st TSC, who execute the complex coordination required to deliver the 101st DSB’s equipment.
“It has been a great experience working with the different entities here to conduct the onward movement of the 101st’s equipment,” said Capt. Christian Enriquez, company commander, 386th Transportation Detachment, 39th Transportation Battalion. “This port is extremely beneficial and of strategic importance to be able to conduct onward movement and show we can do this from multiple ports. The relationship that we are building with the Slovenians has been rewarding. It’s all about partnerships and relationships. It’s important to know that it’s not just us here. It’s the Slovenian Army, the Slovenian employees at the port, the 101st and V Corps. It’s a team of teams making this mission happen.”
Successful reception, staging and onward movement operations require extensive planning with host-nation allies. Mr. William Dees, Director, Western Mediterranean, Italy Detachment (SDDC), also highlighted the positive relationship with the Slovenian Armed Forces which helped facilitate logistics and transportation operations.
“To have a successful mission in Koper we get all of our host-nation partners together, to include the host-nation navy, the host-nation logistics sections and their joint forces headquarters to do effective pre-planning,” said Dees. “So far, the operation is going really well. All the partners here are highly professional and their support has been top-notch.”
Soldiers from the 101st DSB are deployed to the port to ensure the ‘Lifeliners’ equipment arrives at the right place and right time.
“It’s been amazing working with all of our partners here in Slovenia,” said Lt. Col. Mark Schaumberg, commander, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Division Sustainment Brigade. “The SDDC, MCT and the Slovenians are working together with us and really doing their part. We met and engaged the Slovenian logistics commander yesterday here at the port. That kind of leadership emphasis on their end shows their vested interest in having this mission succeed and the overall security and stability of Europe.”
Elements of the 101st Airborne Division, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, are deploying to support the United States’ unrelenting commitment to our European and NATO allies. This temporary deployment is in response to the invasion of Ukraine and is not a permanent change to the overall Army force posture in Europe.