Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Golden Dragons test mine-resistant vehicles

By Spec. Jennie Burrett
2nd Brigade Combat Team Journalist

Company C, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team is deployed to Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Ariz., to test types of Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicles.
The 2-14 battalion commander and sergeant major went to Yuma to observe the company between March 18 and 20. Company C was deployed Feb. 24 and will return March 28; Company A will replace them for the month of April.
MRAPs are a family of armored fighting vehicles designed to survive improvised explosive devices attacks and ambushes. IEDs cause 63 percent of U.S. military deaths in Iraq; to combat this, MRAP vehicles usually have a V-shaped hull to deflect any explosions from below the vehicle, protecting the vehicle and its passenger compartment. The concept is to augment the fleet of Humvees with a more survivable option.
“The purpose of the testing process is to get an unbiased picture of the vehicles’ performance given mission scenarios, crew training, and operating conditions,” said Maj. Phil Clark, the Joint Test Team officer in charge of visitors.
Lt. Col. John Petkosek, the 2-14 commander, is glad that his Soldiers are involved in this important mission.
“Our troops testing the MRAPs are making a significant contribution to the Army's effort to quickly field a vehicle specifically designed to protect our Soldiers from IEDs,” said Petkosek.
“The reason we are here is not for training, it is to assist the military in the testing of these vehicles, and we are making the best out of the opportunity,” said Capt. David Ike, commander of Co. C. “Half of the Soldiers in my company are fresh out of basic training, and this is the first time they have had to learn how to fight with a vehicle. The familiarization and the exposure is really good for not only the new Soldiers, but also the Soldiers that just got back from the overseas deployment.”
The purpose of the MRAP vehicles is to provide improved armor and mobility for personnel operating in a threat environment that includes mines and IED’s. Some types of MRAP vehicles are already being utilized in Iraq.
“I think it is a positive aspect to be involved in the testing,” said Spec. Dain Neininer, a team leader who deployed with 2nd BCT and returned in November. “They are relying on combat veteran experience to get feedback on the operations of the equipment. I also like seeing what the Army has in store for the Soldiers.”
Some of the testing missions conducted by Co. C were convoy operations, raids, quick reaction operations, and vehicle recovery. The also compared the operations of the crew-served weapons on the MRAP to those on the Humvee.
“I am very proud of the way the guys have been handling themselves in this mission,” said Ike.

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