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The MSC-chartered ITB Strong American lowers its bow ramp to load Polish military vehicles in Szczecin, Poland, in late July. MSC chartered four ships to move the Polish 12th Mechanized Division's equipment to Iraq.

The MSC-chartered ITB Strong American lowers its bow ramp to load Polish military vehicles in Szczecin, Poland, in late July. MSC chartered four ships to move the Polish 12th Mechanized Division's equipment to Iraq. (Courtesy of Military Sealift Command)

The MSC-chartered ITB Strong American lowers its bow ramp to load Polish military vehicles in Szczecin, Poland, in late July. MSC chartered four ships to move the Polish 12th Mechanized Division's equipment to Iraq.

The MSC-chartered ITB Strong American lowers its bow ramp to load Polish military vehicles in Szczecin, Poland, in late July. MSC chartered four ships to move the Polish 12th Mechanized Division's equipment to Iraq. (Courtesy of Military Sealift Command)

Polish MI-8 "Hip" multi-role transport helicopters await their turn to be shrink-wrapped in a plastic shell for shipping to Iraq. Once shrink-wrapped, the aircraft were loaded on the MSC-chartered M/V Lince for transport to Iraq.

Polish MI-8 "Hip" multi-role transport helicopters await their turn to be shrink-wrapped in a plastic shell for shipping to Iraq. Once shrink-wrapped, the aircraft were loaded on the MSC-chartered M/V Lince for transport to Iraq. (Courtesy of Military Sealift Command)

A plastic shrink-wrapped W-3W "Falcon" attack helicopter is loadad aboard the MSC-chartered M/V Lince. MSC chartered four ships to move the Polish 12th Mechanized Division's equipment to Iraq. The unit is part of a 16-country, 9,200- soldier multinational stabilization force.

A plastic shrink-wrapped W-3W "Falcon" attack helicopter is loadad aboard the MSC-chartered M/V Lince. MSC chartered four ships to move the Polish 12th Mechanized Division's equipment to Iraq. The unit is part of a 16-country, 9,200- soldier multinational stabilization force. (Courtesy of Military Sealift Command)

Polish army forces heading to Iraq are getting a lift from the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.

Four MSC-contracted vessels loaded vehicles, aircraft and supplies for the Polish 12th Mechanized Division in Szczecin, Poland, in late July. The ships are expected to arrive in Iraq by early September.

According to the Polish Ministry of National Defense, the country will deploy a force of 2,300 soldiers along with units from 15 other countries.

The Polish portion of the stabilization force will help replace the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment around Karbala and other units will go to central and southern Iraq. A small detachment of about 250 Polish soldiers has already deployed and is working with the Marines.

The deploying Polish forces are equipped with MI-8 “Hip” transport helicopters, W-3W “Falcon attack helicopters and about 1,300 wheeled vehicles.

The division’s equipment took up more than 230,000 square feet of space and included more than 700 shipping containers. This was Poland’s largest military equipment move since World War II.

Members of the U.S. Army’s Military Traffic Management Command’s 598th Transportation Terminal Group worked with the Polish stevedores to load the ships.

Naval Reserve Capt. Pete Johansen, commander of the three-person MSC detachment in Szczecin, said that every aspect of the load went smoothly.

“As this was the Polish military’s first experience in shipping military equipment overseas they relied heavily on our expertise,” Johansen said in an MSC news release.

“This was certainly a new experience, since we have not loaded a foreign military’s equipment on this scale before,” said the Naples, Italy-based MSC Europe commander Capt. Dirk Deverill. “It took a great deal of teamwork between MSC, the Military Traffic Management Command and the Polish military to make the operation successful.”

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