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Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:31

Heavy Metal Takes a Ride to Kuwait

Written by Pvt. Andrew Slovensky

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – On Contingency Operating Base Adder, humvees, tanks, trucks, and tractors wait silently for their turn to make the more-than 100-mile trip to Kuwait. As U.S. troops leave, the growing list of heavy machinery that cannot be packed into bags or shipping containers has an alternative route out of the country.

Soldiers with the 1452nd Combat Heavy Transportation Company mobilized in July to support the rapid drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq. The North Carolina Army National Guard unit deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and runs convoy missions to load up heavy equipment in Iraq and deliver it safely to the southern neighbor.  “The mission is to go up north, move equipment … back down to where they need it,” said Sgt. Charles Evegan, assistant convoy commander for the 1452nd. They spend most of their time on the road in convoys of heavy equipment transporters, armored tractor-trailers, said Evegan.

The trailers are loaded with some of the largest pieces of military equipment in use, including massive 60-ton M1 Abrams tanks. Soldiers in the unit are responsible not just for driving the oversized HETs, but also for securing loads, operating wenches, and performing maintenance on their vehicles.

With the deadline set by the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq for U.S. Forces’ withdrawal, units are lining up with gear in hand to leave the country. But soldiers of the 1452nd said they are proud to swim against the current of departing troops to facilitate the needs of the drawdown.

“I put in a volunteer packet to be here; I want to be here to help my country,” said Spc. Ryan Lee, truck driver with the 1452nd. “I know it’s one of the biggest drawdowns in history and I feel glad that I’m able to contribute.”

“It feels pretty good to know you were part of something this big, and moving a lot of equipment in such a short amount of time,” said Evegan.

Transportation companies are vacating Iraq of U.S. military equipment as fast as Soldiers are leaving. When U.S. Forces depart the country by the end of the year, they are taking their heavy metal with them.

November 10, 2011:Written by Pvt. Andrew Slovensky, 362nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Last modified on Friday, 18 November 2011 12:33
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