Sea Transportation: June 26, 2003


The United States Marine Corps has three Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) squadrons, each of five ships. One is stationed in the Mediterranean Sea, another in the Indian Ocean (Diego Garcia), and the third in the Pacific (Guam). Equipment is dispersed among the five ships so that the loss of one ship does not eliminate an entire category of equipment. Thus each ship in the squadron carries approximately 15 M1A1 tanks, 28 AAVs (amphibious assault vehicles, armored carriers for infantry), 153 Humvees, 100 MTVR (heavy trucks that can carry 15 tons of stuff on a road, half that cross country), two mechanized landing craft, eight 155mm towed howitzers, and 550 containers filled with spare parts, ammunition, medical supplies, food, and other material needed to keep a Marine brigade (17,300 Marines and Sailors) going for 30 days. The MPF squadrons performed well during the recent Iraq campaign, with their stored equipment being ready for action when unloaded.


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