Home after a grueling year at war. On Thursday, Fort Carson soldiers unloaded 202 tanks, Humvees and other heavy equipment from a train. It’s all back after a long ride by ship from Iraq and by train from Texas.
"They went through a lot of stuff over there in Iraq." SGT Vincent Pacheco of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment watched as about 20 of the vehicles from his unit were unloaded. "They've only had one or two that haven't been able to start."
Some of the vehicles don't even run anymore and had to be towed off the train cars. Others are in decent shape and only need minor repairs. One tank was dead---possibly because of a drained battery. Most of the repairs will be done by the units responsible for each piece of equipment. "It's very complicated to get the appropriate equipment to the appropriate unit," says MSG John Ziegler
"We have everything from track vehicles to wheel vehicles to engineer equipment," says Ziegler. On this shipment, the vehicles all belonged to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment or the 4th Engineers.
And it’s a big operation, offloading the trains. Between 800 and 1,200 personnel are on the rails at a time, making sure each vehicle is taken off safely. "The danger is real serious. When you take an M1, a 40,000-pound piece of equipment, if it comes off, it's going to cause a lot of damage," says Ziegler.
But loading and unloading heavy equipment isn't unusual for Fort Carson. "The Army lives on deployment. If we can't deploy, we're not effective," says Ziegler.
This will be a busy month for the Fort Carson rail yard. In total, more than 3,200 pieces of equipment are expected back to the Mountain Post this month.