Is this “adjusting to violence” or “learning a hard lesson”?

To protect convoys in Iraq, captain built a unit from scratch

An Army Reserve officer in Iraq was told to cobble together a unit within his transportation group to protect the convoys. On the web he found info on Vietnam gun trucks and created the 518th Transportation Company (Gun Truck Provisional):

He took the idea to his colonel. The colonel said OK – and told Landry that given his former service as a National Guard infantry officer, he’d be in charge.

Thus was born the 518th, a zero-sum operation. Every soldier had to come from one of the transportation group’s companies, which would get no replacements. Landry took pains to ensure that the companies didn’t dump their misfits into the 518th.

“I interviewed them all,” he says. “We got a lot of soldiers who had combat-arms backgrounds.”

The transportation group had plenty of Humvees, but little armor. So Landry went scrounging – trading, pleading, wheeling and dealing. He dug up enough to plate 35 Humvees (plus five 5-ton trucks and one tractor-trailer).

Landry’s infantry background told him that the lightweight machine guns on hand were too light. “I told the one-star general in charge of the transportation command that we needed 50 .50-cal. machine guns,” he says.

“I hoped to get 20. I got all 50.”

So Landry put his 518th on the road, typically one gun truck to every 10 supply trucks. Before he came home in October, his gun trucks racked up 300 missions and 600,000 miles.

Armed and armored gun trucks (and the training to use them properly) probably ought to become standard equipment in the US Army. (via FR)


  1. Agreed, Chad. I was just referring to the different headlines for the same Stryker story I posted on earlier. Maybe we’ll see another paper with this exact same story headline it ‘Original plans proven worthless, Reserve troops forced to jury-rig and pray. Rumsfeld probably at fault.’

  2. Odd. When I served in the 1/504 Parachute Infantry Unit, each company had 5 trucks and Delta Company had 20. They were usually broken down into 4 TOWS, 4 .50 Cals, 4 Mark4s and the rest were command vehicles. Delta would be assigned to run convoy security for the rest of the company when necessary and support companies when needed. These weren’t guys pulled from their transport unit, these were infantry trained soldiers. I didn’t realize that other units didn’t do the same.

  3. As the former XO of the original 518th I can say that this was task that took alot of hard work, dedication and lots of help from former Vietnam Gun Truckers who gave us a bunch of good information. CPT Landry gave this unit the number 518 which was his mothers birthday..She passed away after a hard fight with cancer and never thought of herself only of her family. CPT Landry and 1SGT Jody Cuthbertson worked very hard to put this same ideaology in each and every soldier to place the lives of others above their own. To never give up and fight. 1LT James McCormick

  4. I served with 1LT McCormick, 1SGT Cuthberson, and the rest of the 518th, right up until we departed Feb 27th 2005, our year + tour. There are alot of fine soldiers in the 518th, some former Infantry who changed over to Trans, and a lot of versitility was gained with the varied backgrounds of the soldiers, all of them top notch. We did it right, and with thier leadership everything came together, it’s a job that is needed and we filled the void. Ask any of the Trans companies we escorted. I’d do it again, in a heartbeat SFC Stephen Mikes

  5. i was in the 518th as a mechanic who volunteered to transfer to them from another trans company. the people i met and things that i learned with this company will never be forgotten. i was saddened and dissapointed to lean that the company had been disbanded on may 13 2005. all i have to say to those who were there with me is good luck and hope yall all get home safe and sound.

  6. I was one of the lucky ones who came in and took over the 518 from the original personel. We ran with them and learned from them, but we also dealt with changing tactics and leadership. The 518 was the best company I have ever served with and I was so dissapointed when the anouncement was made that we were being disbanded. We all went back to our units but we are still connected through our experiences in the company and still get together every week to keep the company as alive as we can. To all those who served in the first rotation or with me in the second, we are all brothers and I salute each and everyone of you. Spc Matthew Kratochvil

  7. I have read some of the comments and I find that the soldiers who had the honor to serve in this fine company all stuck together and yes we will and always will be Brothers and Sisters who will never forget the hard times and the good times..I say to every Gun Trucker to never give up and always tell anyone you meet about the concept..We must not re invent the wheel everytime we go to war..Gun trucks are needed 5 Tons and HMMV’s and the best soldiers to crew them are those with a vested interest and those soldiers are the ones from the trans units..

  8. I myself had the priveledge to serve as a platoon sergeant for the 518th Gun Truck Company.After working with the originals soldiers from the 518th,I learned quite a bit from thier experiences and carried it on. The circumstances on why the 518th was disbanded are not clear,but what’s done is done. The soldiers that took the reigns from the first rotation did extremely well and performed their jobs like the original soldiers from the 518th trained us. We have surely held to the true 5198th Standards. But Lt McCormick is right,is was a great honor to serve with this company.When soldiers were called to attention,they yelled out’Regulators’,and it came from the heart.That’s the difference between most companies over there and us,we had the pride through great leadership,to do our jobs the way we did.And that is something nobody can take away from us. In closing I would like to say, REGULATORS,We’ll Make You Famous!

  9. I hope that some of the members of the 518th will read this message. I am Rob Landry, the founder of the 518th. I cannot begin to say how proud I am of the soldiers who lived and fought together in the 518th. I will never forget what you did and I will always be a part of the 518th. Godspeed to each and every one of you. US Regulators.

  10. To all the old and new members of the 518th Combat Guntruck Company, This is TOP. Be advised that your mission as it stands right now is complete. Final Orders on behalf of myself and CPT Robert Landry, CPT McClean Burrell is for you to reorganize, reconsolidate advance in rank and place yourself in a position to where you are able to take care of soldier. Know this, Everyone of you that were trained by the Men of MPRI and received first hand 1 on 1 training from experienced 518th personnel should be considered experts in the field of convoy escort security and have a morale obligation to teach other soldiers. I wish you the best in all that you do! If no-one else has told you. You are all Hero’s in the eyes of myself and my 2 sons. GODSPEED May We Never Meet Under these Circumstances Again! REGULATOR 7 OUT!

  11. I had the honor of being one of the original 68 members of the 518th i had the honor of being the gunner of cancer stick i just learnd of the disbanding and it brings great sadness to me but im a regulator i will adapt and although they have dispanded us there will come a day that we will ride again we will all fight braver hard and faster then the rest there will be a day that we will regulate again i salute all who had the honor to serve the 518th so be safe and gods speed regulator out

  12. Glad that we old Nam guntrucks were able to be of help, A Guntruck Plt. of 3-5 trucks should be on the TOE of all truck companies. Gunner, Guntruck Plt, 2 TC. 1970-71 Guntrucks Maverick & Big Kuhuna

  13. well all i got to say it was the best time off my life riding with the regulators,trought bad and good times ill do it again and to all the guys riding with the regulator stay up and god speed REGULATOR WELL MAKE YOU FOUMUS

  14. Well I can see the comments continue and I am seeing names I have not seen in a while. Just a note to all the Regulators, 1SG Jody Cuthbertson and SSG Steven Wells are now working with MPRI and I plan on doing the same and trying to continue the education of Gun Truckers. We took lessons learned by Gun Truckers in Viet Nam and we used designs and tactics they used and we also developed and made some of our own things adapting to the environment. I am sure by now most if not all the 518th Soldiers are back home and I say welcome home. I also say do not stop the education process be involved and talk about your experience, do not let this die just because someone shut the unit down. It was a bad decision and I feel a decision made on feelings and emotions and not tactical knowledge and for sure not made based on any real combat experience. Stay focused and be ready to return someday and always maintain dicipline and sound judgement. Advance and make rank and maybe one day you will be in a position to make a difference, just dont forget who you are and where you came from and remember that when you tell soldiers to do something always be with them, and never get so deep into yourself that you forget what it is like to ride the Gun or drive. Officers I say this to you, do not send soldiers into battle and follow them..You get your butt out front and lead them! It is dangerous but thats what you must do and if you cant do it, get out, take off the rank and go home! Do Not fall asleep on patrols!!What a shame to look over and see a leader sleeping with his weapon out the window and not paying attention!!I wonder what General Patton would have done if he saw an Officer sleeping when they should be awake and looking for the enemy!! Never stay in the base camp and call it ‘Your Job’or tell the soldiers you have too much paperwork to do, that is BS. I couldnt stand looking around and seeing officers so called leaders of soldiers sleeping in a tent while they had soldiers sleeping on the road! where are the officers? thats a question I keep hearing, I see some of them writing themselves up for BSM’s and fighting to get in and give a swift kiss to the underside of a Field grade officer, but I see few up on a Fifty or out front or even in the middle someplace. The officers guide is great book, read it and when you get to the part about sharing the hardships, apple polishing and bootlicking pay close attention and do the right thing, you may get shot but I believe living life as a coward or being someone who never led from the front is worse, Look not all leaders fit into this catagory but the good ones are few and far between and if you see this tell your fellow officer to do the right thing, some will listen and some will not just pray they will. Gun Trucks!! that is what they are! not a CEP they are trucks with Guns..They have been called Gun Trucks for years so why change that now? Regulators you lived by a code and understand what it takes to do the right thing..Now you have a job to do. Go and teach others, make sure you do it right, yea I am not political and say things that hurt feelings but I believe those of you who rode with the Regulators feel the same way… I am glad we had Cpt Rob Landry leading us, he was not afraid to climb up on the Fifty and lead from the front and he expected that of all his leaders.. LT James McCormick Regulator 5

  15. Still here…I just wanted to say Thankyou for training 778 guys in GunTruck duties, this is now my 14th month ‘Boots on the Ground’ and am training 1st/77th FA…I volunteered to stay the extra 3 months to ensure these crews are ready…Navistar and the whole of IRAQ has changed tremondously…unfortunately, your logos are now just whispers of a past quickly forgotten…my handle is Regulator 34…the 34 is my National Guard division 34th ID…;) FRECKLES

  16. I would just like to say that it is such a relief to hear from you guys. I have been home over a year now and had all but forgotten about the regulators. It is a shame what happened to the unit. I would like to hear from some of the founders of the 518th. My email is

  17. Soon, many of the first regulators, volunteers from Ohio National Guard units 1486 & 1487 and many others, will have been home for one full year. I wish all my brothers (and those few sisters) well. The transition back to this side of the pond is often not easy. We are all strong. We have all faced the notorious enemy, and we are still kicking. Maybe not as high as before… As always, Girl Scout Gunner 518th Gun Truck

  18. to all my fellow regulators, i was one one of the lucky few to serve in this company, i was trained for the second rotation by the first 518th. i want you all to know that i am tring to induct a training program into my comapny that is specifically for guntrucking, i wont let our job die with our beloved company, im proud to be a regulator and i am proud to say i took my job seriously and made it home because of that. i miss all of you and i want to thank a sgt o’malley personally for showing me the ropes and for allowing me to carry on the star! my email is if anyone would like to contact me. ‘REGULATOR 16- OUT’

  19. I just now learned that the 518th was dibanded. I am sadden to hear that the unit got disbanded. My exprience with the unit was awsome, most of the things I remember accomplishing and enjoyed during that deployment was during my time in the 518th. To tell you the truth when I was sent to the unit I did not want to be there, but as it turned out I really enjoyed what we were doing and now miss the comrodery I had with the soldiers in the unit. If the unit was still active I would volunteer to go back in a heartbeat. Right now I’m in Tallil running night operation’s for convoy escorts or what they call convoy protection platforms. My unit was home for 5 months when we got put on alert and 4 month later activated, and to the year after we left Iraq we were back in it. If you like e-mail me @, I check my e-mail daily. GOD SPEED to everyone. SSG Robert J. Delarosa (was just SGT at the time)

  20. To all my family who served with the 518th. I was not happy when i heard that the 518th had been disbanded. But i know that the 518th name will live on bcause of all the blood & sweet we but into the unit. this made the 518th the best unit i’ve ever served with. like SSG delarosa i am back in Iraq and my unit the 1451st is now running escort miisions. i have tried to pass on what we all learned to my soldiers now. i don’t want they to learn the hard way like did. I hope to hear from you guys. SSG Robbie Smith ( take care and never forget what we did and don’t let it die, REGULATORS.

  21. My Grandson is with T.C. 1451. Stay safe all of you!! And many, many thanks for all you do for all of us back home.

  22. hi all i had the honour of working with the 518th while working for IAPWWS as a civy truck driver in iraq . ive got some very good memories and made some great mates. hi to bazan, (FATBOY)adams , psycho counts, and fortune :god bless you all, if any of you guys read this give me a shout . hey and how about a shout for all the civy truck drivers who never get a mention . all the best guys crooky

  23. Whats up 518!! Mojo here. Hey LT…Cpt Landry and TOP!!! Good to hear from some of you. Ali-babba for life! -mojo

  24. To all Regulators Old and new that came in after I left. I was Regulator 4 and I got the honor of seeing the 518th start and grow. After I left the 518th, on Aug 11th 2004 I was shot through the right hand from an AK47 round and EVAC out of country and then to the states. I’m home now still on active duty but getting ready to retirer after 29 years in the Army of course with a disability.But I’m alive and with my family. Good luck to all you 518th Gun Truck soldiers and may God be with you all.

  25. Two IED survivals, one a turtleshell, the other a 1114, 22 months of continous guntruck duties. HA! Times have changed Regulators. My tour of duty Nov 04-Oct 06. Hey, what can I say? Was it was the incentive pay? or just the intense ‘high’ one got from being on the road all of the time? I have seen a lot of changes from the ends of your days to the now. A little burnt out…I just wanted to say though, I have not forgotten this unit. WoW…so many faces. So much…I could tell you stories about S.O.P.s’ that would make you laugh…(laugh out loud)…truth to tell…, towards the end there, I was doing everything I could to keep the ‘fish’ alive. GodSpeed Regulators… The fish have forgotten, but not me…FRECKLES 34

  26. I was also one of the original members of the 518th guntruck company my name i SSG james dominguez i was saddened but not suprised by the unit being disbanned. i had enjoyed myself and miss many of you you all know who you are i worked with 2 great officers LT.Mc cormack was always there for me as i want to thank my friend and mentor SSG wells i miss you alot big wells and also most of all every soldier i had the honor of serving under me thank you for everything i owe you guys my life hawk; tsillianos; macfarland; flickinger; thomae; hernandez; russell and a few others i forgot to mention if any one wishes to contact me my e-mail is or 419-560-0012 the unit was trained hard and fought hard i feel some of our tactics were very progressive and just now starting to be appreciated for what the are safe we never lost a convoy and never lost a soldier in over 600;000 miles of iraqi highway

  27. Great Comments Dominguez we all appreciate everything you did and I also owe you a thank you..I wish to say Thank You to every single soldier who ran this mission in the 518th, all of you did an excellent job and deserve so much more than I could ever give. I do however give you my most deepest and sincere appreciation as well as my respect, you have provided protection to many and helped to preserve many future leaders because of your unslefish dedication to the mission and to your fellow soldiers. Top (1SG Cuthbertson), What a great group of soldiers! they have learned so much from you because of the example you display as a Leader, Soldier and One hell of a Man.

  28. Happy New Year 518th I know some of our brothers and sisters are back in country for a 2nd time or are heading there soon. Keep them and their families in your thoughts. it’s good to know we coined the Phrase ‘We’ll get you there safe, or We’ll make you Famous’ I couldn’t have asked for a better crew, and better Platoon, or a better Company to serve with. I wouldn’t have had it any other way I wonder what we could have done with one of those Mini Guns they are using now :) take care, stay safe SFC Mikes

  29. Hi everybody- My son is a SSgt with 1451st TC and doing those ‘escort’ missions as well. I can’t wait till you are ALL home again! Keep safe & watch out for each other! Lisa

  30. Wishing all a Happy New Year and for those who are in harms way, please know that you will be in our prayers, it is my hope that all return home safe. Cpt James McCormick

  31. hey to all fellow regulators and escorts. well ive been on active duty now for around 9 months and i love it, im stationed at ft eustis virginia, and have ran into a few 518th guys here, let me tell you it was really nice to see them. i see spc waldrop from time to time and i ran into ssg bertholf as well. i miss all of you, please keep in touch with one form or another! stay safe stay famous! bazan out!

  32. I am (RET)SFC Lange, the original Truckmaster for the 518th Combat Gun Truck Company. I am proud to have served with the fine soldiers who did the missions day after day. I know we had disagreements while we were there but I would like to let all of you know how proud I am to have served with ALL of you. We were always under staffed and didn’t have the equipment we wanted but we made do with what we had. We all dreamed of getting the M1114’s but we all knew that we would never see them deep down. All of you did an outstanding job of improvising, adapting and overcoming. Although I didn’t ride on near as many missions as most of you, I took our job very seriously. I regret being the one behind the scene most of the time but my heart was always out there with you. I would like to extend thanks to CPT, McCormick, SSG Wells, and 2nd PLT for taking me out on my first real run north of the border. You all tought me what it was really like up north. What you taught me helped me on every mission I went on after that. You all rode hard and will never see the appreciation you all deserve. I salute you all and look forward to the day we will oce again ride together as REGULATORS! Thanks again! Regulator 8. If you wish to contact me, here is my e-mail and phone number. or (509)391-9131 God Bless you all!

  33. Let us keep the momentum and keep in touch at all times..Give me a shout or send me an e-mail many of you may not know this but the 518th is a pretty hot item now so it would be nioce to get everyone together so we can get the book wrote and the movie together.. CPT James McCormick 304-206-6065 Oh yes and if any of you want to come into the Guard in Ohio I have just the unit for all 518th soldiers all of you will have a home wherever I serve…

  34. HELLO REGULATORS!! I was thinking about some times in my life that I really felt that I was doing some good in the world.As amazing as it might seem, it took me to my time with the 518th.I have enjoyed reading the posts from everyone. SSG Allen,

  35. All 518th soldiers please send me an e-mail we are writing a book and have a guy trying to make a movie about us and I need all of you to contact me so I can get you on the mailing list and we can get your information and any stories you will share..SSG Allen and all my Kentucky Buds we miss ya guys, I miss all of you and would love to hear from you.. James McCormick’

  36. All 518th soldiers please send me an e-mail we are writing a book and have a guy trying to make a movie about us and I need all of you to contact me so I can get you on the mailing list and we can get your information and any stories you will share..SSG Allen and all my Kentucky Buds we miss ya guys, I miss all of you and would love to hear from you.. James McCormick’

  37. Hey all whats up, Hef here, I was with the 2nd rotation of the 518th. I lost 75% of the left side of my brain and 75% of the left side of my hearing. If I had to go back and do it again, I would in a heart beet. I loved serveing with the 518th and my fellow soilders.God bless Hef

  38. Hello all, I wanted to drop you a line to tell you that I am running for the West Virginia House of Delegates (13th District). This is a big step and one I do not take lightly, much like my dedication to the 518th, I will take that same energy to this office and do my very best. Wish me luck and stay in touch. James McCormick Regulator 5 (LT-518th Combat Gun Truck Company)