Support: May 30, 2002

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American soldiers have a historical reputation for being scroungers, capable of tinkering junk into usable items. This war is no different. The garbage dump of the U.S. Army at its Kandahar base camp is loaded with the carcasses of Soviet MiG-21 and MiG-17 fighters along with Hip helicopters heaped on top of each other. For Americans, it's a gold mine of spare parts and scrap metal. Everything the US forces need must be airlifted to Kandahar by air and it can take 10 or more days for a part to arrive. The soldiers of the 92nd Engineer Battalion have found scrap metal to build fences and have ripped starters off old Soviet bulldozers and converted them to fit their American bulldozers. The Marines had gotten into the junkyard earlier, when the 10-man Maintenance platoon of MSSG (MEU Service Support Group) 26 salvaged equipment and derelict vehicles, getting them running for USMC use. While this first American war of the 21st century is primarily fought with high-tech weaponry and support systems, it's good to know that our troops have not forgotten the age old adage of "Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome". - Adam Geibel

 


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