BLOUNT ISLAND COMMAND JACKSONVILLE, Fl -- Blount Island Command prepared and loaded 50 7-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements onto a ship in a combined modernization and reconstitution shipment for the Norway Air Landed Marine Expeditionary Brigade Prepositioning Program June 16.
The shipment of MTVRs is the initial installment on the replacement of the 200 M935 5-ton cargo trucks currently in the NALMEB program, replacing the 5-ton cargo truck.
In July 2001, the OSHKOSH Truck Corporation officially presented the new MTVR to the Marine Corps' Maritime Prepositioning Force, in a ceremony held aboard Blount Island. From that point on, the MTVR became part of the Marine Corps' warfighting capability.
The NALMEB program is an agreement between the U.S. and Norway for the storage and care of prepositioned military equipment and supplies. Following the Cold War in 1991, the Norwegian government and the U.S. agreed to the prepositioning of military assets within Norway as a deterrent toward possible aggression within Northern Europe.
The NALMEB program calls for 30 days of supplies, ammunition and storage of equipment in Norway. These prepositioned assets are assets not available through Wartime Host Nation Support. However, these assets are enough to support a Marine air ground task force of 13,000 servicemembers.
Although the Norway government is the on site "contractor" and provides storage, maintenance facilities, security and maintenance services, the assets are separated into three areas of responsibility for overall management.
Blount Island Command acts as the executive agent for the ground equipment within the NALMEB program. The command attains the supplies and equipment, as well as conducts the quality assurance maintenance necessary to ensure the assets remain in a "state of readiness." The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing is the executive agent for the aviation support equipment. Fleet Marine Force Europe manages the ammunition assets.
According to Barbara Henry, head of the Norway Prepositioning Management Office here, the MTVRs loaded onto ship are a part of the ongoing modernization of Marine Corps assets for the NALMEB program.
"This shipment also includes six M198 Howitzers and one E1210 Position Azimuth Determining System, making up the reconstitution part of the shipment," Henry said.
According to Henry, there were initially 18 M198 Howitzers staged in Norway. In June 2003, the Marine Corps withdrew those assets for use in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The six Howitzers are the first shipment to reconstitute the 18 originally contracted for storage in the NALMEB program.
"The M198 Howitzer is the only offensive weapon the Marine Corps is allowed to stage in the NALMEB program," Henry said. "The NALMEB program has been without the Howitzers for exactly one year, and the Norwegians are very happy to be getting them back into the program."
The Marine Corps and Norway have developed a unique relationship for the storage and care of prepositioned equipment and supplies.
Along with this relationship, the Marine Corps has relied on the NALMEB program's assets for Operations Joint Endeavor in Bosnia, Iraqi Freedom (in theater), and Iraqi Freedom II.
The ability to have these assets available and accessible increases the Marine Corps' warfighting capabilities.
According to Lt. Col Paul Turner, head of the Plans & Policies Branch here, "the Marine Corps is working towards paralleling the Maritime Prepositioning Force Program and the NALMEB program, which would allow interchangeable assets mutually supporting both programs."