You can't turn on the television these days without hearing something of the stand off with Iraq. The weapons inspectors are on the job, and Saddam Hussein's taking a stand. But young men and women from right here at home, Fort Stewart's Third Infantry Division, are taking a stand as well, in Kuwait, just a few miles from the Iraqi border.
We have to stress, this was a regularly scheduled exercise, but with the situation in the region, the soldiers can watch the news in their mess tents, so they know what's going on. And that gives the training new meaning, especially when it comes to the big guns that'll take on targets in a ground war.
Meet the new ships of the desert: the Abrams battle tank, some 70 tons of pretty amazing firepower. With a crew of three, they rumble across the desert floor, blending in as much as anything that large can, leaving a cloud of dust in their wake. Not much gets in their way. When you're this big, you roll right on by, and the ride is surprisingly good. One of the best in the desert, even at 40 miles an hour or so.
"Rides like a Cadillac," joked SSgt. Dell Sergeant.
It may ride like a luxury car, but it's all business.
"Lot of power, packs a lot of punch," said Sergeant.
Since it is training, the first thing the crews do is head for the range to make sure the big guns are on target, literally. They work around problems in the field, just as they would in wartime, making things work to get the job done. Some of the smaller guns make a difference as well. Mortars mounted on armored carriers provide fire support for the troops on the ground. They roll into position, rolling past proof of rounds fired down range over the years.
Sgt Shawn Kemmer told us they can "shoot anything, troops in the open, bunkers, over hills, personnel carriers, anything a tank can shoot, we can shoot."
From hanging a round to impact, it takes about 20 seconds. The next round is on the way before the first hits the target.
Reported by: Mike Manhatton, firstname.lastname@example.org