November 25th, 2007 08:28 EST
Mine Resistant and Ambush Protected Vehicles Delivered
CAMP LIBERTY — Earlier this month, (75) Soldiers here were the first in Task Force Marne to receive Mine Resistant and Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
The Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division completed MRAP drivers training here recently and returned to their respective bases with 20 MRAPs. MRAP fielding will continue steadily with a goal of having the entire task force outfitted by February, said Sgt 1st Class Jabari Williams, the 2nd BCT MRAP fielding NCOIC.
MRAPs come in two categories. Category one holds up to six Soldiers and will replace the Humvee. Category two is a longer version, which can hold a crew of (10) Soldiers.
“It’s a good opportunity for us,” said Sgt. David Ipock, Co. A, 1-30th, in regard to the MRAP training. “Anytime we get a new vehicle with more protection, it’s a good thing.”
Prior to the vehicles being handed over to the units for day-to-day use, the Soldiers got five days of training on how to operate, drive and maintain the vehicles. The training included classroom instruction and on- and off-road driving. This training also introduced the Soldiers to some new features the Humvee lacked, like a pneumatic rear ramp and a shock-absorbing seating system with four-point seatbelts.
“The bomb protection with the seats – I think that might help a lot,” said Ipock. “Everything’s just more advanced – the switches and gauges – things like that.”
Spc. Daniel Lopez with Co. B. also weighed in with what he liked about the new vehicle.
“It’s a big, new toy to replace the 1151 (Humvee) – a lot more room,” he said. “I feel more secure in it than the 1151.”
The training not only familiarizes Soldiers with the vehicles, but it builds confidence as well by giving Soldiers the opportunity to drive the vehicles over steep hills and through tight turns.
“It handles fairly well for a tall vehicle, as far as the suspension and handling I was fairly impressed with it,” said Staff Sgt. Steve Stutzman, Co. A, 1-30th. “I went down a 60-degree hill and hit the brakes, nose first, and we just sat there – the vehicle has really good air brakes.”
MRAPs are designed to be both safe and effective for Soldiers conducting patrols, convoy security and missions throughout Iraq. They are currently being fielded to units that need them the most and that operate in areas with the highest threat, officials said. The goal is for each platoon to eventually have four MRAPs, Williams added.
Although the Humvee is not expected to be phased out anytime soon, the MRAP will begin to take its place as the new standard Army vehicle.
(Story by Sgt. Michael Connors, Task Force Marne)