American Forces Press Service
April 9, 2008 - Supply chain partners, from manufacturer to the front lines, reached a major milestone in keeping warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan safe from the effects of many improvised explosive devices. As of April 5, more than 5,000 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles have been delivered to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. The milestone of 5,000 occurs a little more than three months after the Defense Department kept its promise of 1,500 of the vehicles in theater before the end of 2007. In fact, as of today, the total already has climbed to more than 5,200, officials with U.S. Transportation Command, at Scott Air Force Bawe, Ill., said.
An earlier turning point occurred in late March, when the number of vehicles delivered by sea exceeded the number airlifted to the area of operations. TransCom officials project that, by the end of June, all MRAP vehicles will be shipped by sea.
Marine Corps Systems Command, in Quantico, Va., assigned as the joint program executive office, manages the overall MRAP program for DoD. Prior to shipment, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command center at Charleston, S.C., integrates and installs government-furnished equipment into the vehicles.
"The many successes of the joint MRAP vehicle program are the result of an overwhelming team effort by the many players in this program," said Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command. "From production to integration, from transportation to fielding, a number of commands and organizations have played major roles in this program."
TransCom professionals "exhibited flexibility and resourcefulness to accomplish the movement mission," the general added.
The command's MRAP end-to-end distribution team has been monitoring the pipeline from production through to arrival in theater and delivery to final destination. "Our success is definitely a team effort," said Army Lt. Col. John Hanson, who leads the team.
TransCom officials noted that the command's MRAP success has come even as it has supported humanitarian relief operations around the world, and other commitments made to CentCom and other combatant commands.
The transportation team included members of the command's components to ensure visibility throughout the system, officials said. Air Force Air Mobility Command C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III and contracted AN-124 Condor aircraft delivered the majority of MRAPs until this week. The Army's Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command scheduled ocean carrier deliveries by sea and handled port operations. The Navy's Military Sealift Command delivered vehicles with its fast sealift ships and large, medium-speed, roll-on, roll-off vessels as well as chartered commercial ships.
"This is truly an achievement of all the military and commercial partners in this venture," Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, TransCom commander, said. "These lifesaving vehicles are proving their value every day in protecting our warfighters and keeping them safe while in harm's way."
(From a U.S. Transportation Command news release.)