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)