By Capt. Bryant Wine
Tan Tan, Morocco - It takes an army to sustain an army.
Teams of logisticians keep the Georgia Army National Guard supplied and equipped to sustain operations at exercise African Lion 21 here in Morocco.
Army sustainment begins at the brigade and battalion level where staffs have logistic sections. Led by a logistics officer, called the S4, the sections coordinate acquisition of the supplies, equipment, transportation and maintenance needed to sustain operations.
“Logistics are the lifeblood of every military operation,” said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Julian Tucker, the brigade S4 non-commissioned officer in charge of the Fort Benning-based 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “We focus on planning and execution of sustainment programs to accomplish the mission.”
African Lion 2021 is U.S. Africa Command's largest, premier, joint, annual exercise hosted by Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal, 7-18 June. More than 7,000 participants from nine nations and NATO train together with a focus on enhancing readiness for U.S. and partner nation forces. AL21 is a multi-domain, multi-component, and multi-national exercise, which employs a full array of mission capabilities with the goal to strengthen interoperability among participants.
The 648th MEB headquarters deployed to exercise African Lion 21 to operate the tactical command post to oversee training in the Tan Tan area. The headquarters is crucially important to facilitate logistical support between the two battalions and support organizations outside the training area.
Georgia’s two battalions participating in exercise African Lion are the Elberton-based 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery, 648th MEB and the Forsyth-based 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Each battalion possess its own forward support company. Supporting the 1-214th FA is the Washington-based 1214th Forward Support Company while the Albany-based Hotel Company, 148th Brigade Support Battalion, sustains 2-121 IN.
These forward support companies have a distribution platoon to transport supplies to sister companies, a maintenance platoon to service vehicles and equipment in the battalion, and a field feeding section to cook or attain meals on behalf of the battalion.
Every company in 1-214 FA and 2-121 IN also has an executive officer. Typically a first lieutenant, one key task of these officers is to monitor supply and maintenance for the company. Executive officers work closely with company first sergeants and supply sergeants to understand unit logistical needs, and coordinate with battalion S4s and forward support companies.
Working closely with the GAARNG in African Lion 21 is the U.S. Army Reserve’s 646th Regional Support Group. The 646th RSG operates the mayor cell that manages support of the Tan Tan living areas so that the GAARNG can focus on training. The 646th RSG accomplishes this with close coordination with Moroccan partners who bring supplies to the base.
African Lion 21 is an exercise meant to make strong relationships stronger. Sustaining the GAARNG not only keeps the force lethal, but also fosters relationships across brigades, across components and across borders.
“It’s been great working with the two battalions and all are partners here in Tan Tan,” said Tucker. “This exercise is an example of how the Georgia National Guard emphasizes collaborative effort and partnership.”