CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (June 5, 2008) - While bands play, flags wave and families rejoice at the return of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers to Fort Lewis, Wash., the operation to return home their battle-weary Stryker Combat Vehicles goes on here in Southwest Asia.

As intense daytime heat builds with the approach of summer, here at a fence-enclosed, 2nd Battalion, 401st Army Field Support Brigade area, contract workers spend their nights stripping more than 280 SCVs of the 5,000 pounds of slat armor that each was retro-fitted with as the brigade prepared to surge north into Iraq some 15 months ago.

The Soldiers and Strykers of the brigade saw extensive combat action in Iraq's Diyala province and, as the Soldiers return and re-integrate with their families; their vehicles will be prepared for future employment by repair and refurbishment through the Army Materiel Command-managed Reset Program.

According to Tiffany Smith, a logistic analyst with Jacobs Engineering Group, the contract firm working with the Army's Project Manager for Stryker to facilitate the retrograde of the vehicles, work began after the first vehicles arrived here on May 25th and is nearing completion.

"As of this morning we are 76 percent complete in removing the slat armor," Smith said. "We expect to have this portion of the operation complete within the next couple of days."

There is more to sending the 20-ton, 8-wheeled Stryker home for 'reset' than simply removing the armor, said Smith. SCVs equipped with the 105mm Mobile Gun System had those systems removed in Iraq for shipment to Auburn, Wash., and 120mm mortar systems had to be removed here for transport to Fort Lewis, she said.

Reset of the gun and mortar systems will be done at maintenance sites at those locations, she said.

Once the vehicles have had the necessary removal work done, each vehicle is taken into a nearby maintenance shelter and subjected to an advanced technical assessment to determine whether it can be sent to the reset facility at Fort Lewis for work, or whether the wear and battle damage are so extensive that the vehicle has to be sent to Anniston Army Depot, Ala. for more in-depth repair and refurbishment.

All the vehicles next are taken to nearby wash racks for a thorough cleaning and customs inspection for the long journey home.

Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Reid, a 4th Brigade maintenance officer, and one of approximately 50 brigade Soldiers who stayed behind in Kuwait to help prepare the Strykers, said the work started a little slow but has picked up speed as the Soldiers and contract workers got into a good rhythm.

Asked if there was anything he would like to see changed with the effort, Reid said "no, but it would be nice if we could turn down the heat some."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16