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    U.S. hands over 35 Cascavels to Iraqi Army

    U.S. hands over 35 Cascavels to Iraqi Army

    Photo By Aaron Rosencrans | Iraqi soldiers stand in-front-of their 35 newly rebuilt EE-9 Cascavels during a...... read more read more

    By Spc. Aaron L. Rosencrans
    2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq — The planning of Iraq's ministry of defense and the hard work of many caused the Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division to receive 35 rebuilt EE-9 Cascavels, Jan. 8.

    The addition of these vehicles was intended to be another piece of the puzzle to prepare the Iraqi army to take control of a portion of the Baghdad area.

    Presenting the newly rebuilt Cascavels was Louisville, Kenn. Native Lt. Col. Dion Bates, brigade military transition team chief, with the 4th Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division.

    Bates said the project was a big task, but it was another step toward preparing the 9th I.A. Div. to take over the area.

    "Two years ago, the senior Iraqi military and political leaders decided to bring the Cascavel back to life and asked for the coalition side to help," said Bates. "We've done that, and today marks a great day to turn these vehicles over."

    The Cascavel is an armored reconnaissance vehicle, produced in Brazil that features a 90-milimeter main gun.

    "It's basically a tank with wheels," said Union City, Tenn. native, Capt. Brad Morgan, transition advisor with the 4th Brigade, 9th Division Iraqi Army Military Transition Team.

    He added the Cascavel can be fitted with other weapons to increase the protection and effectiveness of its mission capabilities, making it a versatile reconnaissance vehicle.

    Morgan also said the vehicle would be effective for patrols and checkpoints, which are two activities that continue to protect the neighborhoods in and around Baghdad.

    Beyond its capabilities, the Cascavel is a military vehicle that has a history in Iraq.

    "The Cascavel is a symbol of pride for the country," said Morgan. "It started with great distinction back during the Iran Iraq War. It also fought against us (the U.S.) in the Gulf War."

    Now, with the help of the U.S., the Cascavels were rescued from the bone yards and pieced back together for the Iraqis to be used as they begin to take control of security in the streets of Baghdad.

    Though there were a good number of Cascavels available to be rebuilt, coalition forces did run into some problems along the way.

    "They had a lot of difficulties rebuilding these vehicles and keeping them running," said Morgan. "This is due to the fact the company that used to make these vehicles is no longer in existence. However, this vehicle has been used by 18 or 19 countries, so it is still in use today."

    Despite the difficulties in getting the Cascavel ready to hand over to the Iraqis, the U.S. plans to kick start the program and get the vehicles in use to aid the Iraqi army in securing Baghdad.

    "We're planning to develop a training plan, and work to get these vehicles out on the streets, making a difference," Morgan said.



    Date Taken: 02.21.2008
    Date Posted: 02.21.2008 11:44
    Story ID: 16541
    Location: TAJI, IQ

    Web Views: 2,355
    Downloads: 1,727