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Zutendaal, Belgium
5056'N 534'E

In August 1998 it was announced that, as part of the Department of the Army's prepositioned stocks (APS) drawdown plan, two installations in Central Europe would be returned to the host nations, and one site will be reduced. The APS sites scheduled for closure were Coevorden, The Netherlands and Zutendaal, Belgium. The site scheduled for reduction is Eygelshoven, The Netherlands. The strategy engaged in the reshaping of the APS in Europe optimizes long-term U.S. interests, while also recognizing possible operational and resource constraints. The United States was cognizant of the unsettling effects of this decision for highly valued local employees at these installations. The realignment was completed in January 2000.

During the late 1990s the 16th Combat Equipment Company in Zutendaal, Belgium was responsible for the Army's restructuring of land-based prepositioned forces. The 16th Combat Equipment Company is one of the sites used to store and maintain Army positioned Stocks. APS stocks are a key element in supporting the Army's power projection strategy. They are the critical quick reaction stocks the Army needs to support contingency deployments, peacekeeping missions and disaster relief.

Some of the stock were kept in Zutendaal, and part were redistributed to other APS stockpiles around the world in the late 1990s.

In December 1995 and January 1996, Combat Equipment Battalion - North received and deployed three combat engineer companies through the 16th CEC in Zutendaal, Belgium, to Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the Implementation Force (IFOR) contingent. With little advance notice, the company issued three of the largest, most diverse equipment sets in the AWR inventory while maintaining the deployment timeline vital to the smooth transition of troops into the war-torn region. Each of the units would play crucial roles during the IFOR deployment, with the 586th Engineer Company (Assault Float Bridge) establishing the return crossing over the frigid waters of the Sava River.

In January 1996 the US Army sent a medical team to investigate the Zutendaal storage facility in Belgium that may be linked to an apparent viral infection hitting American troops, including troops from Fort Riley, on their way to Bosnian peacekeeping duty. The first group of soldiers, from the 586th Engineer Company based at Fort Benning, Ga., exhibited symptoms of a viral infection on their way from Germany to a US military staging site in Taszar, Hungary, in December 1995. All 28 recovered and continued into the Balkans to serve with the NATO peace enforcement mission. On 19 January 1996 another 27 soldiers, from the 362nd Combat Support Engineer Company, from Fort Bragg, N.C., became ill during pre-deployment training at Hohenfels, Germany. Five had symptoms like mononucleosis and strep throat, the Army said Wednesday in a statement from its European headquarters at Heidelberg. The rest had rashes and fever, like the Fort Benning group. An Army medical team concluded that a common experience among these soldiers was identified as the equipment storage site in Zutendaal (Belgium) and a hotel in the area. The Army said all the affected soldiers had received combat equipment from the Zutendaal storage facility. The medical team looked at conditions at the facility and the area to investigate possible sources of the viral infection, which was not life threatening.

In mid-1997 the 3654th Direct Support Maintenance Company of the Iowa National Guard got a lot more than training to sharpen their military and technical skills during their Overseas Deployment for Training (ODT) at the 16th Combat Equipment Company in Zutendaal, Belgium. They also got a crash course in logistical support requirements for the Army's power projection -- and in the "One Force" concept. They worked side-by-side with Active Army, Belgian civilians and American contractors. Zutendaal is an ideal environment for it: there's plenty for them to do, and they are working in a modern facility with all the elements of the Total Army force.



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