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Ceremony commemorates 10,000th MRAP surface shipment to USCENTCOM

NAVAL WEAPONS STATION CHARLESTON, S.C. - Military and civilian dignitaries gathered here Monday for a ceremony to commemorate the 10,000th surface shipment of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to U.S. Central Command.

Commander of U.S. Transportation Command, Air Force Gen. Duncan McNabb, and commander of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Army Maj. Gen. James Hodge, attended the event at Wharf Alpha with other military and civic dignitaries. SDDC's 841st Transportation Battalion served as host for the commemoration.

Battalion commanding officer, Army Lt. Col. Randy Haufe, in his remarks, acknowledged the team effort responsible for this milestone. He recognized his civilian and military workforce and that of the of the International Longshoremen Association from Terminal Corporation-East as dedicated and superior in accomplishing this and other vital port operations in Charleston.

In other remarks, Hodge saluted the efforts of all those involved in the shipment of the 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 10,000 MRAPs. "These lifesaving vehicles are proving their value every day in protecting our warfighters and keeping them safe."

A soldier, newly assigned to the 841st, shared his personal experience of the importance of MRAPs. Army Capt. Lonnie Nipper recently returned from a 12-month tour in Iraq.

While there, Nipper worked as part of Military Transition Team of about 10 to 15 soldiers who lived outside the wire and was responsible for mentoring and advising Iraqi forces. He spoke of several instances of improvised explosive devices hitting his convoy of MRAPs.

Although MRAPs were delayed by flat tires, vehicle damage, and on one occasion being flipped over, his team suffered 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 to his audience. "So, thank you."

Incidentally, the ship carrying the 10,000th MRAP, the MV Alliance New York, is the same ship which delivered the first MRAP carried by surface to the USCENTCOM theater of operations in November 2007.

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