The U.S. military isn't just swapping soldiers in Iraq, the Associated Press reports. It's slimming down, too.
The Army's 4th Infantry Division, which currently occupies a swath of Iraq north of Baghdad, will require 19 of the Navy's massive "roll-on, roll-off" or Ro-Ro ships to carry away its vast collection of tanks...By contrast, the Army's 1st Infantry Division, which will replace the Tikrit-based 4th Infantry in the coming weeks, is arriving in Kuwait on just five Ro-Ro ships...Military officials have said the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq will take on a less-intrusive hue when the massive rotation of U.S. troops now underway sends 110,000 fresh troops into neighboring Iraq to replace the 130,000 being sent home.Instead of patrolling Iraq in Bradley armored vehicles and 70-ton Abrams tanks - brought in for the land invasion in March - incoming soldiers and Marines will rely more on armored Humvees and other lighter, more maneuverable vehicles. Hence the need for fewer trips by Navy ships like the hulking gray U.S.N.S. Pomeroy, which was being loaded Monday with Humvees from the Army's V Corps, which is in the process of returning to Germany.The troop rotation also signals the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2, when most U.S. troops will be shifted from the current tight-knit occupation that uses dozens of bases inside Baghdad and other cities, to large camps lying on the outskirts of Iraqi cities. Several bases have already closed.