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Tank battalion sets up camp in Kuwait, waits to move into Iraq

NORTHERN KUWAIT—After weeks of anxious waiting, a tank battalion from Fort Riley, Kan., landed overseas this week and set up a primitive desert camp as it awaited orders to move north into Iraq.

Although the 1st Battalion, 13th Armor, deployed nearly a month after the war started, battalion commander Lt. Col. Frank Sherman said Thursday, "I'm pretty sure these guys are going to get into a fight." Sherman's battalion is part of Fort Riley's 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

For now, the 100-degree heat and blowing sand is the tank unit's immediate enemy. The heat Thursday was oppressive to soldiers who just two days earlier had shivered in 40-degree cold as they left Kansas.

"I hope we move up north fast," where temperatures tend to be a little lower, said Lt. Rob Yllescas.

"Oh, man," he said, as he gulped down water. "I never imagined it being this dusty."

Company commanders lectured soldiers on the importance of drinking water and wearing sunscreen. In Bravo Company, officers ordered soldiers to put up tarps and rest in the shade. The men sweated heavily, a salty treat for biting flies.


(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.