More than 30 Soldiers, Sailors and civilians gathered at the Port of Ash Shuaiba, March 24, to observe the last mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, or MRAP, to exit Iraq being loaded aboard a ship for transport back to the United States.
The Caiman Plus MRAP vehicle, which exited Iraq at Khabari Crossing, Dec. 18, 2011, with Company C, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is being shipped to Beaumont, Texas, where it will be transported to the 1st Cavalry Brigade Division Museum at Fort Hood, Texas, for preservation and display.
“I think the MRAP is an icon as to just how quick and how adaptable our Army is,” said Col. John S. Laskodi, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade commander.
While processing thousands of vehicles and tons of equipment withdrawn from Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn, the brigade took the initiative to preserve the vehicle, he said.
“Just a few short years ago we hadn’t even dreamed of MRAPs,” Laskodi said. “We saw an emerging threat. We were able to quickly counter that threat, and then produce these in tens of thousands in a short period of time and get them forward onto the battlefield. I think it’s an amazing testament to the agility of our Army.”
The vehicle was loaded aboard the freighter Ocean Crescent for the journey to the United States. It is scheduled to arrive in Texas in about a month, said Capt. Joseph Wanat, operations officer with the 1173rd Deployment Distribution Support Battalion, which has overseen the marshaling and loading of thousands of vehicles and hundreds of tons of non-rolling stock at the port as it exits the region through Kuwait.