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Marines deliver Jordanian-donated military gear to Iraq

25 Jul 2004 | Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr.

A convoy of U.S. Marines and soldiers, along with other Multinational Forces began a long journey - from Jordan to Baghdad - to deliver a convoy of armored vehicles to the Iraq National Guard and other Iraqi Security Forces.

Marines along with British and Polish soldiers made the first of several trips July 24, delivering 56 vehicles to Baghdad.  The convoy was escorted through Iraq's Al Anbar Province by Marines from 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment.

The Jordanian government donated nearly 275 armored personnel carriers, including British Spartans, U.S.-manufactured M-113s and Russian-made BTRs.  They were shipped to the Iraqi government in an effort to bolster the country's security forces, according to Maj. Walter E. Lavrinovich, the 37-year-old officer-in-charge of the camp from Crown Point, Ind. 

"I think this will significantly boost the Iraqi Security Forces' presence," Lavrinovich said.  "It's more of a psychological thing.  With them receiving this equipment, it increases the stature of the forces, gives them a sense of accomplishment."

Lavrinovich said the local security forces voiced concerns of lacking enough firepower to defeat anti-Iraqi fighters.  This shipment of military vehicles and weapons, though, gave the ING a boost in their capabilities.

The Jordanian donation also came with tools and parts to keep the gear running, according to Army 1st Lt. Tom F. Campbell, 29, convoy commander from Sherwood, Calif.

"They're giving the Iraqis everything they need to succeed," Campbell said.  "I'm not sure who will teach them to drive these vehicles, but whenever they learn, they'll be a much stronger show of force."

Lavrinovich explained the new equipment will provide ING soldiers with a greater sense of authority and responsibility among fellow Iraqis.  Gear that's unique to Iraqi forces will demonstrate that they are force designed and now equipped to protect their own citizens.

"They can now be on the offensive," Campbell added.  "Before they rode around in pickups with .50-caliber machine guns.  They needed much more and now they're getting it."

Eight British soldiers from the Kuwaiti border also came along helping drive the British-made Spartans.

"We came along to help drive some of these vehicles," said British Cpl. David P. Young, a 39-year-old crew commander from Windsor, United Kingdom.  "We really enjoy getting out here.  We have a great relationship with the Americans and we get to help the Iraqis in the process.  We'll do anything to help stabilize this country."

A parade will be held recognizing the Jordanian contribution to Iraq and as a showing of new military strength, Campbell said.

"Things seem to be going the right direction," Young said.  "We're proud to see that.  I think after all things will be okay."