Monday, May 26, 2014

Vehicles We Often Overlook - Memorial Day Special

Editors Note - Happy Memorial Day to all of our veterans, active duty soldiers, and families of both. One of our writers, Jeremy, is currently in the Army, and wanted to do a military vehicle themed piece. Here it is, and thank you for your service Jeremy.

It’s Memorial day. And seeing as how I am in the military, I wanted to write something specific for the military, and the branch I serve in, the Army. Specifically, that thing is our wartime vehicles that help keep us soldiers alive. There are a lot of vehicles we have used, but there are 3 that have been used very consistently since their inception and the start of the war. Those vehicles are the MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle), the Stryker, and the Armored Security Vehicle. The last one, the ASV, is unique in the regards that only Military Police soldiers use it.

The MRAP family of vehicles came about because too many people were getting killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we didn't have a general purpose vehicle for everyone. ASV’s were for the MP’s, and Strykers belonged to the Stryker Brigades. Not every unit had Bradley’s. The local insurgencies realized they couldn’t really go toe to toe with a large, well equipped, and organized army, so they decided to resort to some hardcore guerilla tactics. There of course were other vehicles that we used, I mean we had the M1 Abrams tanks, and the Bradley Assault vehicle. But we had to take them out of Iraq because it caused too much collateral damage. So after the heavy armor left, we rolled with the MRAP, the Stryker, and the ASV.

I have the most experience with MRAPs. I rode in them a bunch of times, and there are a bunch of different designs for the MRAP and the Stryker’s. The most common I saw and rode in were the Maxxpro’s and MRAP Cougars. Let me tell you, these things are pretty nice rides. Of course they weigh in at around 14 tons, but the vast majority of that is from the armor it has on it. It also has a nice design on the bottom. It’s curved like the top of a roof so if something blows up undearneath it, it rolls the explosion off to the sides, instead of directly underneath it and destroying everything inside. They do their job and they do it well. According to Wikipedia, no service members died in 2004 in any of these. Even with more then 300 IED explosions. The insurgencies realized this though, so they got crafty and came up with something called an Explosively Formed Penetrator. It’s as nasty as it sounds and then some.

So, after they did this, we came up with the Duke System. The Duke System was pretty much a radio jamming system. It would jam every cell phone single and all of that, and it would also have something on the front of the truck that had wheels that would activate a pressure plate as well, looked something like this.

Shown at Right: An MRAP Cougar after getting hit by an IED, everyone on board lived

Even if they get hit, these things are designed for maximum survivability. Trust me, they work. I rarely hear about people getting hit in their trucks and dying, usually the one that gets killed is the turret gunner.

I know there is probably some stuff I missed or glossed over, I just wanted to remind everyone on this day that, you should observe everyone that has fallen, and be thankful for them. And also be thankful that we’ve got people who spend an absolute ton of money for our guys, to give them some of the best tech to make sure they survive. ~ Jeremy

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