10,000th MRAP En Route to Central Command
By Army Master Sgt. Kevin Young and Dani Pacheco
American Forces Press Service
CHARLESTON, S.C., March 26, 2009 Military and civilian officials gathered March 23 to commemorate the 10,000th surface shipment of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, known as MRAPs, to the U.S. Central Command area of operations, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan.
Air Force Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, and Army Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, commander of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, attended the event at Wharf Alpha at the Naval Weapons Station Charleston here. SDDC’s 841st Transportation Battalion served as host for the commemoration.
In his remarks, Army Lt. Col. Randy Haufe, battalion commanding officer, acknowledged the team effort responsible for this milestone. He recognized his civilian and military workforce and that of the International Longshoremen Association from Terminal Corporation-East for their dedication in accomplishing this and other vital port operations here.
Hodge also saluted the efforts of those involved in the shipment of MRAPs, which he described as “the best equipment our service men and women could have available as they serve in harm’s way.”
McNabb recognized the professionalism and dedication involved on everyone’s part in the safe, secure and efficient shipment of the 10,000 MRAPs. “These lifesaving vehicles are proving their value every day in protecting our warfighters and keeping them safe.”
Army Capt. Lonnie Nipper of the 841st, who recently returned from a 12-month tour in Iraq, shared his personal experiences with the MRAP.
In Iraq, Nipper worked with about 15 soldiers as part of a military transition team responsible for mentoring and advising Iraqi forces. He recalled when improvised explosive devices hit his convoy of MRAPs. Though MRAPs were delayed by flat tires, vehicle damage and, on one occasion, one flipped over, there were no casualties.
“If it wasn’t for the people working diligently here getting these vehicles ready and shipped over to us, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our mission,” Nipper said. “So, thank you.”
The ship carrying the 10,000th MRAP, the MV Alliance New York, is the same ship that delivered the first MRAP carried by surface to the Central Command theater of operations in November 2007.
(Army Master Sgt. Kevin Young serves with the 841st Transportation Battalion and Dani Pacheco is an employee of Naval Weapons Station Charleston.)