It’s as inevitable and predictable as Christmas or hurricane season in Florida, albeit with a little more tin foil.
At least once a year, I will come upon a hastily-written post as I scroll through my social media feed that seems oddly familiar- videos or photos -often seemingly recorded by way of a camera-potato hybrid- showing military vehicles being transported by train, predictably captioned with some conspiracy about how the United States is mobilizing for either martial law (often hilariously misspelled as “Marshall Law”) or World War III.
“#WARISCOMING This was filmed in Texas last week,” the most recent post stated, posting a video (of questionable age) of a passing train carrying everything from M2 Bradleys to supply trucks. “Something big is coming. #Trump”
First off, as a retired service member and someone who grew up near a military installation, let me get this out of the way: if you see a train full of military equipment and automatically think it is the outbreak of war or martial law, you either need to loosen your tinfoil hat or write screenplays with that big imagination of yours.
Tanks, Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Cargo trucks are pretty big objects that are either not allowed on public roads (tank treads destroy pavement), break down constantly, have wear measured by hours over miles or are not terribly fuel-efficient (last I checked, HMMWVs aren’t exactly great commuters).
To make matters worse, the majority of East-coast and Midwest-based military units go to the National Training Center (or Twentynine Palms) in California to engage in pseudo-realistic desert training prior to deployments to the Middle East and other places that are, well, you know.. Hot.
Instead of dealing with the logistical nightmare of feeding, housing and preventing vehicle accidents by large groups of soldiers (not to mention leaving non-street legal vehicles behind or fueling them across the country), would it not be easier to ship said vehicles to their destination in advance and then fly their soldiers to the vehicles by means of charter plane for much less money?
If this sounds like a good idea, I’m afraid I can’t take credit for it- this is what the military does, multiple times a year.
(Video: Vehicles staged at Fort Stewart, GA, prepared to be loaded on rail cars to be taken to Fort Irwin, CA for a brigade’s training rotation at the National Training Center at the beginning of April)
The military has depended on trains since the invention of the train. From tanks to artillery, troops to nuclear weapons and ammunition, the train is one of the most efficient ways to move a lot of tonnage across the USA. Heck, the railway depots at military bases are often so large, they could swallow a football stadium in their acreage!
These trains also haul equipment heading onto cargo ships, to include UN-slated vehicles and other such cargo that might draw alarm by conspiracy theorists.
So next time you see a train hauling tanks around, don’t panic. If we’re going to war, odds are Popular Military is going to tell you about it before any train does (and then get yelled at for “violating OPSEC” with PUBLIC information).
All aboard the Reason Express!
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