FAIRBANKS - The Stryker Brigade here has begun shipping its equipment to the Mideast in preparation for its fall deployment to Iraq.
The 1,100 vehicles used by the 1st Brigade 25th Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team - including the eight-wheeled armored Strykers from which the unit gets its name - were put on trains for the first leg of the journey.
The trains set off for Anchorage, where the vehicles will be loaded onto a ship destined for the Mojave Desert in California.
"There's literally tons and tons of stuff they've got to move," said Maj. Chris Hyde.
For many soldiers, the deployment will be a return trip to Iraq. The 1-25th was sent to Iraq for 16 months in 2005 and 2006.
Over the past year, the 4,000 members of the brigade have been preparing to go to Iraq. In July, they'll go first to the National Training Center in California.
"From what I've seen at the NTC, it looks startlingly realistic," he said. "The mantra there is to make it as close to the real thing as possible."