3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, is readying for a deployment to Afghanistan in December, and it will leave its fleet of roughly 300 eight-wheeled Strykers at home.
Instead, about 3,000 soldiers from the brigade will drive a mix of armored vehicles that are already in Afghanistan, such as the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and its all-terrain variety, the M-ATV.
I didn’t realize they were not taking their Strykers. While some might wonder what the point of Stryker Brigade without Strykers is, it’s important to remember that the key force in a Stryker brigade are the soldiers. They Strykers are their transport and support vehicles.
And, given the issues that those vehicles (and the similar LAVs used by Canadian forces) have faced in Afghanistan, it’s probably not the end of the world. Depending on where they’re going to be operating and what they’re going to be doing, using MRAPs and M-ATVs could be much better anyway.
They prepared for their deployment in August at California’s National Training Center, where they used Strykers.
This fall, drivers throughout the brigade are getting a condensed course on how to drive MRAPs and M-ATVs. Few of the vehicles are available for training because the Defense Department sent most of them directly to Iraq and Afghanistan.
This could be a bit worrisome if they aren’t completely up to speed on using the alternative vehicles and operating without the support of the Strykers.