TACOMA, WASH. – The Army’s new Stryker armored vehicles are headed for their first operational assignment # service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Vehicles of the Fort Lewis-based Stryker Brigade Combat Team began rolling onto ships today at the port of Tacoma, Wash. The Stryker vehicles and related equipment will support 3,600 soldiers from the I Corps’ 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who will begin their assignment in Iraq in a few weeks.
This week’s move at the port of Tacoma represents several benchmarks for the port, according to the Military Traffic Management Command. It’s the biggest movement of military cargo at the port since Operation Desert Shield in 1990. In addition, this is the first time Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-On/Roll-Off vessels of the Navy’s Military Sealift Command have ever visited the port. The two vessels designated for the move are the USNS Shugart and the USNS Sisler.
“This is an historic move,” said Lt. Col. Darren Zimmer, commander of the 833rd Transportation Battalion, the unit conducting the loadout for MTMC. “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 Brigade Combat Team completed its combat certification at Fort Polk, La., in May. The wheeled Stryker vehicles are part of the Army’s transformation to move to a more agile combat force that may be transported faster.