U.S. GEAR IN IRAQ WEARING DOWN

It's not just the troops that are getting worn down by an extended tour of duty in Iraq, ABC News reports. The equipment is, too.

Keeping vehicles running is as important as keeping the troops fed. The longer the U.S. military is there, the harder it gets. For example: The Army says helicopter blades and engines are rapidly being "eaten by the sand."The heat and terrain are shredding tires on Humvees. Some $236 million has been spent to replace them since the war began in March, instead of the $80 million normally needed.Bradley fighting vehicles are in the worst shape. The Army can't replace worn track on the Bradleys fast enough. Stockpiles have now been depleted, and won't be re-supplied for months...The heavily armored Bradleys now are needed to escort military convoys, dramatically increasing the amount of use.Bradleys normally log about 800 miles a year. In Iraq, some have logged 1,200 miles per month."I don't think we quite saw the magnitude of having to secure all the convoys with Bradleys," Gen. Paul Kern, commanding general of the U.S. Army Material Command, told a small group of reporters recently.
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