U.S. Army Strategic Capabilities Afloat
by U.S. Army Capt. Pedro Lugo
February 11, 2022
With operations and exercises in support of
Pacific Pathways on the horizon, the Army Field Support Battalion –
Charleston, is busy supporting the rapid power projection capability
provided through Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS).
The unit is
located at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina and ensures the
equipment sets and munitions are fully mission capable and prepared
for rapid employment in support of Combatant Commander requirements.
The scope of the operation is massive, and through the herculean
efforts of dedicated Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians and
contracted workforce, the team continuously maintains this combat
equipment afloat in a ready posture to project combat power
The Army Field Support Battalion –
Charleston, or AFSBn – CHS, is responsible for the readiness and
employment of this critical power projection capability. The unit
maintains the Army Prepositioned Stock-3 (APS-3) Program, which is
the only afloat pre-positioned stock in the Army. The battalion is a
subordinate unit of the 404th Army Field Support Brigade, located at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, the Army Sustainment Command,
located at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois and the Army Materiel
Command, located at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
(Left) A Large, Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-off (LMSR) vessel docks at Wharf Alpha, Charleston, South Carolina, and prepares to load recently repaired, maintained and modernized equipment for future operations.
(Right) A Medium Tactical Vehicle (MTV), M1085 with trailer
is loaded onto a Large, Medium - Speed Roll-on/Roll-off
vessel at Wharf Alpha, Charleston, South Carolina, in
preparation for future operations. The Army Field Support Battalion – Charleston, is responsible for the readiness and employment of critical power projection capability. (Image
created by USA Patriotism! from photos by U.S. Army Capt. Pedro Lugo
- February 3, 2022)
Its mission is to provide the warfighter
with the ability to quickly generate combat power at any location
designated by the National Command Authority. AFSBn – CHS
establishes, maintains, and conducts the handoff and reconstitution
of the Army Prepositioned Stocks 3 (Afloat).
the battalion maintains complete Infantry Brigade Combat Teams,
Theater Opening/Port Opening, and Sustainment Support Brigades
equipment sets at Technical Manual (TM) 10/20 standards, and
properly configures for quick and efficient handoff to a gaining
“I am truly proud of the entire workforce in
AFSBn – CHS. Their commitment to the maintenance and readiness of
APS-3 is second-to-none,” said Col. John C. Rotante, 404th Army
Field Support Brigade Commander.
professionals know what is on the line and that, when called, this
equipment must be at the highest state of readiness for our
warfighters. We are excited for the opportunity to deploy and issue
this capability to tactical units in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
area of responsibility in support of bi-lateral training with the
The primary purpose of Army Prepositioned
Stock (APS) is to enhance the U.S. Army logistical support globally
to support a United States based force, and sustain Soldiers as
resources are shifted throughout the operational theater. The Army
has prepositioned military stocks in various locations throughout
the world with the necessary equipment Soldiers would need in the
event of contingency operations, including vehicles, weapons and
ammunition. There are several sets of APS geographically positioned
in support of the regional Combatant Commanders, however, APS-3 is
the only equipment set afloat with the flexibility and agility to be
employed anywhere in the world.
Historically, ten percent of
material sent to a theater arrives by airlift, while the remaining
90 percent arrives by sea. AFSBn – CHS plays a critical role in
repairing, maintaining and modernizing equipment that will be moving
to contingencies in support of various operations.
quickly provide equipment to any theater, including the
Indo-Pacific, during times of competition, crisis or conflict,” said
Lt. Col. Christopher Manganaro, AFSBn – CHS Battalion Commander.
“AFSBn – CHS is the unit charged with the responsibility to
maintain and deliver the APS-3 capability. We are based out of a
strategic location capable of air, rail and sea power projection,”
APS allows a rapid buildup of forces to
demonstrate U.S. resolve, reduce the risk of open conflict and
counter hostile actions before the arrival of sealift and expansion
forces. It also enhances force projection capability by drastically
reducing the time needed to deploy a task force or brigade-sized
force by providing combat ready equipment already in theater.
“We are also the only Army unit who can reset an entire
brigade’s equipment set within 120 days,” said Manganaro. “During
that time, we download a vessel completely, do a full reset, and put
everything back onto the next vessel.”
The AFSBn – CHS Senior
Enlisted Advisor Sgt. 1st Class Richard Emmerling spoke about how
strategic APS capabilities are approved for release by the Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of Staff of the Army, or
Department of the Army assistant chief of staff, operations (G-3)
and assistant chief of staff, plans (G-5).
“We are a
world-wide asset,” said Emmerling. “Our job is to ensure [assets]
get where they are needed in advance”.
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