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MTMC, MSC ships Fort Lewis Stryker unit for duty in Iraq

TACOMA, Wash., (USTCNS) --- The Army's new Stryker combat vehicles are headed for their first operational assignment?service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Loading of the Fort Lewis-based Stryker Brigade Combat Team began Oct. 9 at the port of Tacoma by the 833rd Transportation Battalion, Military Traffic Management Command and the Army Reserve's 1192nd Transportation Terminal Brigade.

The equipment was loaded aboard a Military Sealift Command's Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-On/Roll-Off vessel. Later, additional equipment will be loaded aboard a second Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on/Roll-off Vessel. This is the first time the large Navy ships have ever called on the port.

The move represents another benchmark for the port of Tacoma as well. It is biggest movement of military cargoes at the port since Operation Desert Shield in 1990. The cargo to be moved includes more than 1,300 vehicles, approximately 400,000-square feet of cargo, according to Master Sgt. Dian Vaz, NCOIC of the 833rd. Approximately 300 of the vehicles are Strykers.

"This is an historic move," said Lt. Col. Darren Zimmer, commander. "This is the first use of the Stryker vehicles in an active combat environment. My unit is honored to have such a significant role in support of both a changing Army and Operation Iraqi Freedom."

The Stryker vehicles and related equipment will support 3,600 soldiers with the I Corps' 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The Stryker unit will replace units of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, of Fort Stewart, Ga.

"I think the soldiers and civilians of the 833rd Transportation Battalion and the 1192nd Transportation Terminal Brigade have been nothing but professional," said Maj. Ramona Clemmons, military police planner for the combat team. "They have done a great job and I haven't had any (loading) issues."

The move is the biggest involving Fort Lewis troops since 1966.

The Stryker Brigade Combat Team completed its combat certification at Fort Polk, La., in May. The unique wheeled Stryker vehicles are part of the Army's transformation to move to a more agile combat force that may be transported faster.

Office of Public Affairs - transcom-pa@mail.mil
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