By Sue UlibarriJune 21, 2011
FORT BENNING, Ga., June 21, 2011 -- More than 70 armored vehicles were offloaded today at the Ochille Railhead at Harmony Church, on Fort Benning, Ga., marking yet another milestone as the Armor School completes its move from Fort Knox, Ky., to the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
The arrival comes one day after the U.S. Army Armor School uncased its colors during a ceremony at Brave Rifles Field, Harmony Church. An estimated 500,000 pieces of equipment weighing 60 million pounds will make the trip from Fort Knox as part of the Armor School’s move.
“The arrival of these vehicles today is significant. It is the largest equipment move by rail to date from Knox to Benning,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Curtis Grover, logistics officer.
More than 100 Soldiers and civilians took part in the rail operation, which began at 7:30 a.m. Within four hours their combined efforts facilitated the successful offloading of a number of armored tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and M88 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System vehicles.
“It took 18 months of planning for this rail operation, and to see these vehicles arrive today pays off, not only because we’ve conducted things safely and seamlessly, but more importantly, because this milestone demonstrates how we at the Maneuver Center of Excellence are moving toward the future,” Grover said.
All of the vehicles transported to the installation will be used in the Armor School’s inventory to train armored Soldiers in Armor courses offered at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, or MCoE. Initial military training for Soldiers who chose Armor or Infantry branches will train at the MCoE bringing to fruition the installation’s “One Force, One Fight” concept.
Currently 61 courses are taught at the MCoE, with the Base Realignment Commission bringing an additional 39 course, to include Armored One Station Unit Training for 19K, armor crewmen, and 19D, cavalry scouts.
“Fort Benning embodies the Army’s concept of training as we fight, we fight together as one force in theater so these vehicles are a tangible part of the Armor School’s presence here,” Grover said.
The MCoE is now home to the two most powerful maneuver forces in the world, the Infantry and Armor -- you put these two elements together whether in the fight or in training, and the combined firepower is unstoppable,” said Grover.
The Armor School at Fort Benning is less than 100 days from full operating capacity. More than $3.5 billion in construction will be invested on the installation through 2016. The Maneuver Center of Excellence transformation began as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s decision to move the Armor School to Fort Benning.
Fort Benning has served as the Home of the Infantry since 1918. Fort Knox has served as the Home of Armor since 1940.