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Consumer Reports

Led by alligator, marines in Iraq push onward | The 5th Marine Regiment, Bravo Company, is racing toward Baghdad, led by a 26-ton armored amphibious vehicle that carries a child's toy alligator nicknamed "Crazy" on its hood.

The vehicle, which carries troops into battle, had painted on its turret its own nickname: "The Porkchop Express."

Lt. Anthony Sousa from Maine, commander of the vehicle, quipped he had placed a sandbag to cover the word "pork" to be politically correct in a country where pork is not eaten.

Looking down at the baggy suit he wore to protect against possible chemical or biological weapons, he said: "Oops, I kind of looked like Snoop Doggy Dog. Does anyone have any tape to flatten it down?" He then broke into an improvisational rap about crossing the Iraqi desert.

Younger Marines remained boisterous among themselves and full of bravado, but the older, experienced men retained a more sober mien and cautioned against overconfidence as America's force to topple Saddam Hussein moved deeper into Mesopotamia.

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