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U.S. Marines Start Kuwaiti Exercise

December 2, 1997

KUWAIT (AP) _ Amphibious landing craft roared into Shuwaikh port in a cloud of mist Tuesday, carrying U.S. Marines and sailors to shore at the start of military exercises with Kuwait.

``Eager Mace 98″ is the latest in a series of maneuvers to be conducted by American and Kuwaiti forces since Iraqi troops were driven from the emirate in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

``We are here to sustain and maintain our basic war fighting capabilities,″ Capt. Robert McCarthy of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit told reporters at the port just west of Kuwait City.

``The exercise allows us to keep our war fighting skills up-to-par and ready to go,″ said the Marine from East Bridgewater, Mass.

Some 4,300 Marines and sailors deployed from Camp Pendleton in California were taking part in the maneuvers, which are scheduled to end Jan. 6.

The landing from three ships was expected to be completed in about three days.

One of the vessels, USS Peleliu, was about five miles off the coast, while the other two, USS Juneau and USS Comstock, were docked at the port.

Scores of M1A1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles will be driven to a training field in the desert where they will be used to train with Kuwaiti soldiers. The exercise will also involve aircraft and naval elements.

``There are some great opportunities here to do live fire ... there are great distances″ in the desert, said Lt. Col. Christopher Schuchardt, of St. Louis, Mo., commanding officer of the expeditionary unit.

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