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Military equipment moving through JAXPORT, heading overseas

More than 2,500 pieces of equipment on way to Europe

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The Jacksonville Port Authority is being used to move more than 2,500 pieces of military equipment overseas to Europe.

Soldiers from the 832nd Transportation Battalion, 597th Transportation Brigade from Fort Eustis, Virginia, as well as Soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas’ 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division are part of the operation. They're helping to move three ships, 150 trucks and 640 rail cars.

JAXPORT is one of the 17 U.S. strategic seaports on call to move military cargo for national defense, foreign humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. JAXPORT said it's the only port in Florida with this capability. 

"You’re looking at an exercise that is testing the ports through port capability and a velocity that we can achieve with a heavy brigade combat team," said Lt. Col. Thomas J Patterson.

GALLERY: Military equipment loaded onto vessel at JAXPORT

Patterson said the mission is in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, bringing military units to Europe for nine months at a time.

"We're trying to achieve the maximum velocity at this port to see how we could do in time of crisis," Patterson said.

The Army said Operation Atlantic Resolve builds readiness and enhances the bond between ally and partner militaries.

"This is all in practice but this unit is actually going to the European Theater, and they’re going to go conduct exercises with our allies overseas," Patterson said.

More the 2,500 pieces of military equipment including M1 Abrams Tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M109 Paladin Howitzer artillery pieces, as well as an assortment of other tracked and wheeled support vehicles, came from Fort Hood, Texas, and will be loaded onto three ships. The ships will leave Saturday to head to Europe.

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"It’s been somewhat of a Herculean task to get everyone together, and because we haven’t done this since about 2003 at this scale, there were some rusty parts that we had to break free," Patterson said.

Patterson said this operation is the first heavy armored brigade combat team to deploy through JAXPORT in more than seven years, since Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During Operation Atlantic Resolve, the equipment will be used for multinational training events in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

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