TAN TAN, Morocco - It takes an army to sustain an army.
Teams of logisticians keep the Georgia Army National Guard supplied and equipped at exercise African Lion 21 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 noncommissioned 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 June 7-18. More than 7,000 participants from nine nations and NATO train together to enhance readiness.
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 crucial to facilitate logistical support among 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 possesses 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 cell that manages support of the Tan Tan living areas so 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 meant to make strong relationships stronger. Sustaining the GAARNG keeps the force lethal and fosters relationships across brigades, components and borders.
“It’s been great working with the two battalions and all our partners here in Tan Tan,” said Tucker. “This exercise is an example of how the Georgia National Guard emphasizes collaborative effort and partnership.”