FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, MOSUL, Iraq — Newsday photographer Moises Saman was traveling with the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, Thursday morning when the convoy came under attack. This is his account.
Yes, we all know that the Stryker isn’t a tank. I understand that many will see that distinction as splitting hairs, but given that the survivability of the Stryker on the battlefield is a major point of contention, I think it would behoove us to remember that it is a light armored vehicle and not at all meant to be a tank.
The blast blew the glasses from the face of a soldier who had been peering through the hatch. He ducked down into the cabin for a second and seemed dazed.
We realized we had hit an IED, Army lingo for an improvised explosive device, the most common and effective method of attack against U.S. soldiers in Iraq. But the blast didn’t stop us. We kept rolling the whole time.
Later, we stopped and found damage to some tires and an antenna. Shrapnel had nicked the armor. If you’re going to be hit by explosives, a Stryker is the place to be.
While stories that call the Stryker “indestructible” or “heavily armored” (such as this recent AP report) perhaps help communicate the high regard the soldiers have for it, it’s not at all the truth. No vehicle is “indestructible”, and although the Stryker does carry armor to protect troops from small arms and shrapnel damage, it’s not anywhere near “heavily armored”.
The AP story I link to above also notes that the attack that day
appeared to be better coordinated than past attacks, with guerrillas apparently pulling out their strongest assaults in an effort to derail Jan. 30 elections, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Hastings said.
“The terrorists are growing more desperate in their attempts to derail the elections and they’re trying to put it all on the line and give it all they can,” Hastings said.
This is just more of the same. It really seems like a lot of organized insurgents are popping up in places where they weren’t previously encountered too frequently, and Mosul seems to have attracted more than its share.