Third ID Hardware Packed for Shipping - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/30/04

Third ID Hardware Packed for Shipping

The Third Infantry Division is heading back to Iraq a little more than a month from now, but before they can go, their equipment needs to go first. A Naval ship is docked at the Georgia Ports Authority's ocean terminal. It's being loaded up with all sorts of military cargo.

Piece by piece, more than 2,000 vehicles and hundreds of containers filled with every weapon a solider might need are being loaded up for the division's second trip to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"This is their second go around, so they're very well seasoned," said Brig. Gen. Sandy Sanders. "They've done this before and it's going to be a good deployment."

But not before all their equipment goes first. Loaded with everything a solider needs to keep the peace in hostile territory, this will be the first ship to set sail for the Middle East. "This is not what Santa Claus would normally bring to you on Christmas morning," said Sanders. "These are big boy toys. Everything from lethal weapons to service and supply vehicles to support their efforts."

With enough equipment to fill five football fields, this will be one of 11 ships heading overseas. And by the time all 11 ships are loaded up, there will be enough military equipment to fill 35 football fields.

With a little more than a month to go before the bulk of the soldiers from the Third Infantry Division deploy, military officials say going back for the second time will be a bit different. "A lot of the soldiers are going, this will be their first time going overseas, leaving their families," said Maj. Eric B. Shaw. "So we've got nothing but support from the communities, from their families and the soldiers. I wouldn't say excited, but they know it's their job and they're ready to do it."

More Naval ships are expected to arrive over the next couple of days.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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