Monday, June 8, 2009
Naval Service pitches in to bring Iraq kit home
The Naval Service is well-represented in the team leading the massive operation to bring home six-years-worth of equipment from Iraq in good order.
Brigadier Paul Stearns Royal Marines is the Commander of the Joint Force Logistic Component, the specialist headquarters currently deployed to Kuwait and Iraq.
There are around 80 matelots currently serving in theatre, from Baghdad to Um Qasr and Kuwait.
And there is plenty of dark blue among his headquarters staff of 25, based in the Kuwait Support Facility situated in the desert around 100 km outside Kuwait City
They are supporting the recovery of 5000 containers of kit and more than 1000 vehicles – from quad bikes to the 72-tonne Challenger Two main battle tank - from Kuwait.
Their task is not only to recover all the combat kit used in operations in Basra Province but to make sure it is done in good order and as efficiently as possible.
Most of the equipment has left for the UK on a fleet of military container ships leased by the Ministry of Defence and manned by RNR sponsored reservists.
By the end of the operation they will have moved
• More vehicles than in the bus fleets serving Bristol and Bath
• Around 5000 containers – enough to build a Jenga tower 2 ½ miles high
• 102 convoys were needed to bring the equipment out of Basra to the port, driving a total distance equivalent to 5 ½ times around the world
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines have been well represented of late in Iraq. Until the end of March, the Commander Multinational Division Southeast, based in Basra, was Major General Andy Salmon Royal Marines, supported by a large contingent of CAF staff.