Marine Corps sends tanks to Afghanistan to support troops, including 10,000 from Camp Pendleton
The U.S. Marines are sending 14 tanks to Afghanistan to support ground troops, including 10,000 Camp Pendleton Marines that are in Helmand province, officials announced Friday.
A company of M1-A1 tanks is set to arrive in Helmand in mid-December. It marks the first use of tanks by Marines in the nine-year war in Afghanistan.
The 60-ton tanks can be used to destroy roadside bombs, the enemy's weapon of choice against NATO and Afghan forces. The tanks can also guard key population centers and roads, and can move quickly across vast desert regions.
“Tanks provide us with a deadly-accurate weapons system that can be used very effectively against the enemy even as he tries to use the Afghan people as his shield,” said Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, the top Marine in Afghanistan.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: A role-player poses as an Afghan security officer in front of a building lined with cameras at the Marines' new faux-Afghan village at Camp Pendleton. Credit: Lance Cpl. John Robbart III