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MRAP training precedes fielding
By Sgt. Zach Mott, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Jan 7, 2008 - 5:19:44 PM
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Blackanthem Military News
Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles such as this one will begin being fielded to units within the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division soon. Soldiers from the Striker Brigade attended a week-long training session on the vehicle prior to that fielding. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Zach Mott, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - More than 1,600 Improvised Explosive Devices detonated on 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division patrols in Iraq from December 2005 to November 2006 according to the official brigade tally.

In efforts to prevent deaths and injuries caused by IEDs the military added armor, both to personnel and vehicles, lawmakers in the United States urged Defense Department officials to make a change. The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle is the result of that push.

The shear size of an MRAP is nearly enough to scare an IED into submission. The MRAP stands nearly 20 feet tall.

Striker Soldiers participated in a week-long training course devoted to teaching them the necessities of the MRAP prior to conducting missions in the new vehicle. In the past, the 3rd BCT's vehicle fleet consisted of Humvees, Light Medium Tactical Vehicles and various tracked vehicles. This added behemoth required specialized training for its future operators.

"I think it's a pretty nice little vehicle. Just the way it's set up and some of the capabilities; it's really nice," said Sgt. Jonathan McNemar, a gunner with Company B, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, who is on his third trip to Iraq with the 3rd BCT.

McNemar has witnessed first-hand the advancement of troop transportation in Iraq. During his first trip, from March 2003 to March 2004, most of the Humvees were ‘soft skin,' or un-armored. During his second tour, from November 2005 to November 2006, vehicles that went outside the wire were required to be up-armored. Now, MRAPs fill the next evolutionary step.

"Each time it gets better as it goes along," the Spencer, W.Va., native said.

Striker Soldiers will be some of the first in Iraq to field test the new vehicles. Although, prior to being sent to combat each MRAP is put through rigorous tests stateside at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. All vehicles must pass this testing prior to being issued to troops, said Derrick Crockford, the lead field service representative at Camp Taji from DynCorp International.

Crockford said the concept behind the MRAP is simple: protect the war fighter.

"It basically involves putting more protection around the Soldier within the vehicle," the Baton Rouge, La., native said. "That being said, it puts them at a better advantage against IEDs, (vehicle borne) IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, mines, that kind of thing."

After a week of classroom-style learning, Soldiers of the Striker Brigade are eager to put the rubber of the MRAP tires on the roads of Iraq.

"They're a smooth ride," said Cambridge, Mass., native Pfc. James Fleming, a driver from Company D, 1st CAB, 68th AR. "They're pretty nice. It's pretty much like driving a Humvee just swollen up."

With that eagerness also comes an appreciation for the added protection an MRAP is said to provide.

"I think with the safety capabilities upgraded on it I think it's going to (mean) less patients (for us) as more units get these vehicles," said Spc. Jennifer Ward, a medic from Company C, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, and King, N.C., native.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

 
Sgt. Jonathan McNemar, with cable, gunner, Company B, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, tests the recovery cable of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle as Spc. Jennifer Ward, a medic from Company C, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd BCT, and an instructor watch. McNemar, a Spencer, W.Va., native and Ward, from King, N.C., attended a week-long class on how to operate maintain the MRAP at Camp Taji, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Zach Mott, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)
Sgt. Jonathan McNemar, with cable, gunner, Company B, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, tests the recovery cable of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle as Spc. Jennifer Ward, a medic from Company C, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd BCT, and an instructor watch. McNemar, a Spencer, W.Va., native and Ward, from King, N.C., attended a week-long class on how to operate maintain the MRAP at Camp Taji, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Zach Mott, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles such as this one will begin being fielded to units within the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division soon. Soldiers from the Striker Brigade attended a week-long training session on the vehicle prior to that fielding. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Zach Mott, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)

 

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Chief James Clarke
08 Feb 2010, 12:45
I am heading down range and would like a comprehensive training program for my guys.

Chief Clarke
Nicky
19 Apr 2009, 19:59
I agree with Perry Force Protection started the Mrap program in the first place and was considered the Gold Standard for the Mrap's than along came Navistar and copyed the Cougar and the DOD gave them a much larger contract for more ezpensive vehicles than had to pay more to bring them up to the Gold Standard of the Cougar

The same IMO was BAE's Mrap's, even the UK don't buy them anymore do to the fact they are not safe as the Cougar's

Hope and pray when the M-ATV contracts are given out the DOD realized their mistakes of the past,that has cost the lives of our fighting men and women and awards the contract to Force Protection and General Dynamics partenership to get the best vehicles for our warriors.
Perry Cameron
19 Apr 2009, 07:11
I am very dissappointed that Lobbyist and under the table dealings have allowed the DOD to allow an inferior vehicle, the MaxRoll to be selected as the vehicle of choice to protect our troops.

Anyone with a day to review and study will realize that Force Protection is the company that not only introduced the MRAP concept (with years of R&D) but also makes the safest vehicle at the lowest cost.

The only Navistar did was make a substandard copy of the true MRAP vehicle known as the Cougar.

The other company producing 'MRAPs' is BAE. This company does prodcue a safer vehicle than Navistar but they too produce a substandard copy cat version of the Cougar.

Now with MATV coming into play for Afghanistan, I just hope and pray that the DOD doesn't conduct business as usual and will select the Best vehicle and not the vehicle with the Best Political players and the most under the table money!

Perry Cameron
832-483-5145
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