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SHUAIBA PORT, Kuwait — The “Strikeforce” has arrived.

Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team have spent the last week unloading their equipment in Kuwait as they prepare for their upcoming deployment to Iraq.

“The soldiers are unloading virtually every kind of vehicle the Army uses, from tanks to Humvees, tankers, bulldozers and engineers’ support equipment,” said 1st Sgt. James Sellers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Division Support Command. Sellers was supervising the unloading, standing on the docks surrounded by vehicles and equipment and barking orders to the soldiers.

The equipment — more than 1,800 tanks, trucks, and other hardware — left 2nd ID bases near the Korean Demilitarized Zone last month.

The equipment left the South Korean port of Pusan in what officials described as the largest logistical operation the U.S. military has carried out on the peninsula in 50 years.

The equipment was loaded onto a pair of U.S. military transport ships that reached Kuwait last week.

A small team of 2nd ID soldiers traveled ahead of it by air and waited on the docks to unload the vessels when they arrived. The 2nd ID soldiers-turned-dockworkers drove the vehicles to a marshalling area a short distance from the wharves for collection by Strikeforce.

Once the vehicles reached the yard, they had to be parked in groups that would eventually convoy to Strikeforce’s base at Camp Buehring in Kuwait.

On Tuesday, Spc. Philip Brown of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment found himself backing a Humvee with a trailer between two rows of closely packed vehicles.

But the trailer kept veering off to one side or the other.

“Hummer trailers tend to do this,” he explained, flapping his hand around like a fish tail. “We are making sure the trucks are in the right rows. All the vehicles have to be in the right units — [for] the proper convoy,” he said.

Back on the wharves, the 2nd ID dockers shared their workspace with Kuwaiti port employees, most of whom are local nationals from places such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. As the military vehicles drove off the grey-hulled transport ships, the locals were busy nearby loading and unloading commercial products, such as fertilizer and gravel.

Ships from around the globe, including Russia and Norway sat at their moorings, and across the bay the soldiers could see an oil pipeline, supported by hundreds of wooden piles stretching far out to sea.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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