People watching the North Dakota State Fair Parade in Minot July 25 got to view some big military equipment, one of them being the M88 track recovery vehicle.
The M88 belongs to the Forward Support Company of the North Dakota National Guard's 164th Engineer Battalion, with headquarters in Minot.
"The vehicle is a wrecker for heavy equipment," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Troxel, readiness noncommissioned officer for the 164th's Forward Support Company.
The M88 has the notoriety of being the heavy equipment that was used in the Gulf War by the U.S. military to tear down the statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad April 9, 2003.
The M88, was by far the heaviest piece of equipment in the State Fair Parade that day, weighing in at more than 50 tons.
Normally, the M88 has a crew of three people: a driver, a tank commander and a mechanic, Troxel said. Actually, all three of the crew are mechanics but with various specialities.
The M88 has been around for a long time, Troxel said.
As for driving it, "the only thing hard or difficult is its size. The visibility is pretty limited. The guy up on top sits up high and tells the driver. .." he said.
The Forward Support Company has two M88s.
The local Guard had other equipment in the State Fair Parade July 25, including some new equipment. That included the Pellitized Load System carrying Humvees, and the light tactical motorized vehicle, the latter which replaced the 2 1/2-ton truck. Another new piece of equipment was the 916A3 truck with its trailer serving as the platform for the parade's judges' stand.
Other military equipment from active forces in the parade included snow-removal equipment, and fire and emergency equipment from Minot Air Force Base.