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Port of Vlissingen Designated As Temporary Military Site

The transfer area in the Dutch southern Port of Vlissingen was designated as a temporary military site today [© Media Centrum Defensie: Sm Eva Klijn]

The transfer area in the Port of Vlissingen was designated a Temporary Military Site today to facilitate the transit of a US Army brigade.

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News Release, The Hague, 12 September 2022: The transfer area in the Port of Vlissingen was designated a temporary military site today. This was done to facilitate the transit of a US Army brigade to Eastern Europe for an exercise. The Netherlands will provide Host Nation Support with 75 military personnel.

The Royal Netherlands Army will guard the site 24/7, while units of the Royal Netherlands Navy will ensure security on and in the water. The Royal Netherlands Air Force will provide surveillance and security support and members of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee will perform military police duties. The Defence Movement and Transport Organisation will handle the transport of US personnel. The Defence Intelligence and Security Service carried out a security analysis for this operation.

Library image of ARC Endurance delivering US Army materiel into the Port of Bremerhaven in Germany in 2022 [© Bob Morrison]

US materiel will arrive at the port in the last week of March. It will be brought by MV Cape Washington and the civilian transport ship ARC Endurance. US personnel will handle the transfer of the materiel at the port for transport by road and rail, the modes by which most of the materiel will be conveyed following its arrival.

The Host Nation Support provided by the Netherlands will end when the equipment has been transported across the border at Venlo. The final destination of the transit operation is a training area in Eastern Europe.

No link with the situation in Ukraine: The US requested Host Nation Support from the Netherlands some time ago for the transport of materiel from Vlissingen to Eastern Europe, where the US 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Carson (Colorado) will be taking part in the Defender 22 exercise this spring. This exercise has been on the calendar for a long time and is not linked in any way to current developments in Eastern Europe.

Library image of USNS Benavidez with 2ABCT, 1AD vehicles and equipment aboard alongside at the Port of Vlissingen, 12th March 2020 [© Bob Morrison]

Preparations for the transit operation were already in progress before Russia invaded Ukraine. The forthcoming operation therefore has nothing to do with the increased readiness and activity of NATO troops. Providing Host Nation Support is a task that NATO members must perform for each other. By providing this support, the Netherlands will show itself to be a reliable partner.

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Editor’s Comment: Exactly two years ago part of the Port of Vlissingen was a designated Temporary Military Site to facilitate the arrival of US military materiel for Exercise DEFENDER Europe 2020, but the WHO declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic instantly terminated the operation. I well remember the night of Friday 13th March 2020, which I spent at a ‘Corona Party’ in a hotel in the nearby historic market town of Middelburg as fellow guests attempted to drink the bar dry fearing the world as we knew it was about to end!

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