The Army and the Rock Island Arsenal are helping the Illinois National Guard prepare for summer training. This week on the island, soldiers from the guard loaded 200 vehicles onto railroad cars that will travel to Fort Polk in Louisiana.
Major Adam Malaty-Uhr, executive officer for a unit based in Kewanee, says 80 soldiers loaded the trucks and humvees onto rail cars at the Arsenal's rail head, near the island's Rock Island gate.
"We haven't actually done this in just over a decade. None of our soldiers have actually done this so we started off with a full day of training. To move these 200 pieces of equipment took about 2 1/2 days."
Soldiers from units based in Kewanee, Pontiac, Dixon, Machesney Park, and Woodstock participated in the loading here, and at other sites in Illinois.
The Garrison Commander, Colonel Stephen Marr, says this is the first time in ten years that vehicles have been shipped from the Arsenal by rail - in recent years it's all been by truck.
"This showcases a capability here at the Arsenal that we want to maintain that is available for people on both sides of the river, units on both sides of the river, to use in the future should they need to. This is a kind of proof of practice that we're doing right now."
In all, the Illinois National Guard will ship 900 pieces of equipment by rail to Louisiana for summer training, that will last one month and involve 4,500 soldiers from the state.