C-17s Bring Abrams Tanks to Afghanistan

A C-17 transport and crew operating with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in Southwest Asia brought the first Marine Corps M1A1 Abrams tank to Afghanistan. Additional M1A1s followed on more C-17s, marking the first time that the Pentagon has introduced the 68-ton main battle tanks to support operations there in the history of the nine-year Afghan conflict. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, commander of Afghanistan’s Regional Command-Southwest, requested the tanks to increase the firepower of his forces in the non-mountainous areas of his region. Getting the M1A1s to the land-locked nation requires a combination of sealift and airlift, with C-17s executing the last leg of the trip. The first tanks arrived Nov. 25. (Scott report by Capt. Justin Brockhoff)