On 28 March 2017, a non-typical cargo was brought aboard the Green Ridge car carrier into Deepwater Container Terminal in the Port of Gdansk. US military equipment arrived as part of a NATO mission to strengthen its eastern flank. The operation of unloading 311 vehicles and other heavy logistic equipment lasted two days.
US General Duane Gamble of the 21st Operations Support Command told reporters that 900 soldiers from 17 different locations in the US arrived in Gdansk in order to deploy the equiment. Upon its arrival the trucks, trailers, containers, were expected to be driven in road convoys to various target units in the region.
According to military sources, the equipment dispatched from Gdansk will be used by US soldiers to assist NATO troops as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Four battalions will be stationed on NATO’s eastern flank, including Poland, under a decision taken at a 2016 NATO summit in Warsaw amid fears of Russian aggression following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014.
These multinational forces will be provided by framework nations and other contributing Allies based on four rotational battalion-size battlegroups operating in concert with national home defence forces in the host countries. Canada, Germany, the UK and the US are the framework nations for the multinational presence in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland respectively. The battlegroups will also be complemented by the necessary logistics and infrastructure to support pre-positioning and facilitate rapid reinforcement.
As a US Army press release revealed, the 497th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, a group comprised of US active duty, Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers, will use the 644 pieces of military equipment brought to Gdansk, including 311 pieces of rolling stock and 155 containers to assist European troops across the Baltic Region.
The 497th Battalion will conduct combat sustainment support operations by providing ammunition handling, military police, postal and other logistical support operations across Eastern Europe to rotational units in support of Atlantic Resolve.
– Atlantic Resolve is a great opportunity to test forward speed of assembly, stress the transportation system, and identify improvements associated with receiving and transporting equipment, containers, and cargo with our Polish allies – said Capt. Jacy Schmidt, 635th Movement Control Commander.
– This mission has provided 497th CSSB with an opportunity to work with a multifaceted logistical air, land, and sea support package that includes Polish Allies, TRANSCOM, SDDC, 16 SB, Army Reserves, Army National Guard, and Active Duty components – said 1st Lt. David Epperly, 497th CSSB, Unit Movement Officer.
The military equipment was transported to Gdansk by the Green Ridge vehicle carrier registered in the United States. The vessel built in 1998, has 21,523 DWT, 57,449 GT and a capacity of 6,000 standard size cars. The vessel is owned by Central Gulf Lines Inc., a subsidiary of the International Shipholding Corporation (ISC). It belongs to the fleet of 60 US flag militarily-useful vessels operated in the Maritime Security Program.
GL, rel (US Army, NATO)
Below: Video footage showing the offloading process in Gdansk’s port, featuring US General Duane Gamble and CEO of DCT Gdansk, Cameron Thorpe.