Mine Resistant, Armor Plated Cargo Bound For The Front Lines
Scott Air Force Base, Illinois
More than one hundred ambush protected, heavily armored vehicles began their long trek toward Iraq this last Tuesday. The precious vehicle cargo set sail for Iraq from the Naval Weapons Station in South Carolina. The well-protected vehicles are made to cushion and protect those riding inside from IED explosives, roadside bombs, and even armor piercing bomb devices.
This is the largest single shipment yet for this type of vehicle, headed for Iraqi soil or anyplace else for that matter.
Many explosives, known as “explosive penetrators” have made short work on less heavily armored vehicles. These life saving vehicles are destined for Iraqi coalition forces. The vehicles are being shipped by methods utilizing sealift and airlift, a large milestone for the program.
Lieutenant Colonel John Hanson, Chief of the U.S. Army’s Transportation MRAP distribution command went personally to the Port of Charleston, South Carolina to witness the historic first shipment of these vehicles. “By adding in sealift, we can maintain effective swift shipping and use various strategic ability to meet command priority needs,” said Colonel Hanson.
Up to now, the majority of the MRAP being shipped overseas to Iraq has gone by air means. The large increase in need, vehicle production numbers, and the number of vehicles necessary to move through the Port of Charleston has motivated the expanded means of transporting the MRAP to the front lines.
Plans include continuing to ship via Airlift hundreds of vehicles by Air each month but expanding the number of MRAPS shipped via sea from whatever port CENTCOM designates. Also Sealift is efficient, and one single ship can carry more than in one trip than Airlift can ship in an entire month.