21st TSC Attends National Defense Transportation Association Conference

Feb 14, 2023 | Chapter Spotlight

Karin Hellemans, senior manager, Europe and Africa Government Trades, left, and Fiona Slabbekoorn, regional lead Africa, Maersk Line Limited, right, host an open discussion during the National Defense Transportation Association Europe & Africa Region Workshop Conference Jan. 25 at the Ramstein Officer’s Club.

Soldiers, Airmen, Industry colleagues and Government professionals all came to the Ramstein Officer’s Club Jan. 24-25 to confront logistical challenges with joint solutions at the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) Europe & Africa Region Workshop.

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command receives an invitation by the NDTA to have a collaborative discussion about complex problems within the theater, and work together to find solutions logistically within their European area of operations.

The NDTA has assisted logisticians and the military since WWII where government, military and private sector professionals can solve pressing challenges in the fields of logistics, transportation, and passenger travel services.

Approximately 80 personnel attended this conference to discuss issues, network and finally meet face-to-face as the NDTA for the Europe and Africa region. The most important aspect of this engagement was finally meeting each other due to the delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Fionna Slabbekoorn, regional lead Africa, Maersk Line Limited, collaboration with one another to help service members win was the most important aspect of meeting with the 21st TSC and the Airmen within the facility.

“This meeting is about enhancing the collaboration and communication between government partners,” said Slabbekoorn. “It’s about education and development and tackling challenges together. We are finding out how the 21st works in the theater and how our industries work to get cargo into theater. This is happening so well because you can’t replicate face to face engagement with such a diverse group of EUCOM, AFRICOM, Air Force, NATO, airlift, sealift and many more professionals here. This is what we need.”

Col. Everett Lacroix, support operations officer, 21st TSC was the senior logistician present on behalf of the unit and the Army. This was his first NDTA experience, and he shared the same sentiments with Slabbekoorn. Lacroix manages and distributes equipment, ammunition and fuel on a daily basis in the current high operational environment as NATO continues to fully support Ukraine.

“This engagement could not have come at a better time,” said Lacroix. “Together with our NATO allies in support of the Ukraine crisis, we look forward to continued success as we continue to protect every inch of NATO territory. This is one of the busiest, historical and mission critical times to be a logistician.”

Within three separate suites, 20 coordinated discussions enabled specialists that plan, coordinate and synchronize logistical movements to conduct a dialogue and discussion on how to best assist the warfighter through all aspects of logistics.

Karin Hellemans, senior manager, Europe Africa Government Trades, American President LLC., enforced that the service member on the ground is their top priority.

“We are all here to support the warfighter,” said Hellemans. “That’s most important. That’s our bottom line commitment.”

These discussions ranged from contracting new vehicles, future platforms, movement coordination throughout Europe, and NATO Defence Policy and planning to name just a few.

Through these engagements, progress enabled new thoughts on initiatives through our NDTA partners, leaving a way ahead for the 21st TSC to keep the forward momentum to toward finding ways to become more efficient within their operations.

Jason Trubenbach, director of business development logistics, Crowley Solutions is on board with assisting the Millrinders get across the finish line with the lessons learned and networking accomplished during the conference.

“The work starts now,” said Trubenbach. “Let’s push forward with what we’ve learned and the connections we’ve made.”

Lacroix and the 21st TSC share those sentiments and have plans to utilize their action officers to keep the momentum made to create new solutions and ease the burden off the warfighter.


Story & photo by Maj Vonnie Wright, 21st Theater Sustainment Command

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