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MEU Conducts Agricultural Inspection

KUWAIT - The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted an agricultural wash-down and inspection of its vehicles and equipment in Kuwait, April 11-14.


April 21, 2008
Navy News

The inspection is required for U.S. assets that have been deployed ashore while overseas as a preventive measure against the spread of non-native organisms.

"It will take a total of four days to clean all 224 vehicles of the 11th MEU," said Capt. Gary Thompson, officer in charge of the wash-down station. "One day for offload, one day for backload and two days for washing down."

Marines use high-pressure water hoses to blast encrusted dirt and grime from every crevice of their vehicles, and after the sanitization process is complete, each vehicle receives a thorough inspection by U.S. Customs officials.

"We inspect everything. We're looking for dirt, sand, soil, seeds, grasses -- anything that can carry an organism. We will go over a vehicle three to six times before it is removed from the wash racks and put into the sterile lot for shipment home," said U.S. Customs Inspector, Operations Specialist 2nd Class Jayson Young.

The inspection process can take from one to three days, depending on the type of vehicle: an M1-AI Abrams tank can take up to four days, a fuel carrier a day, and a high-mobility multi-wheeled vehicle, two days.

"We will do several inspections on every vehicle," said Young. "Nothing ever passes the first time, and, usually, nothing passes the second time. You're talking three, four, five inspections before something passes.
Vehicles will be cleaned and inspected 24-hours a day
until this unit is finished."

Over the course of four days, Marines worked non-stop to pass the inspections and finish on time.

"Everything ashore went very well, and we finished six hours ahead of schedule," said Maj. Kevin Rosen, the 11th MEU logistics officer who was overall in charge of the wash-down operation.

The 11th MEU is embarked aboard amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1), which is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations and conducting Maritime Security Operations.