I’ve been shirking my Stryker posting duties lately, so here’s a round-up:
Strykers from the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division hit the highway as part of its –Cascadian Commitment” exercise in preparation for a deployment to Iraq next year:
“I think it went pretty good,” said Pvt. Wayne Guess, a Stryker driver from Lancaster, Ohio, who made his first freeway trek in the 19-ton armored truck. “There was one lady who tried to get 3 inches in front of me, but everything else went great.
“I was watching everything — the road, the traffic, stuff on the side that might be suspicious.”
That was the point of the numerous Army convoys on Interstate 5, north and south, and on state highways east of Fort Lewis. War game planners want soldiers to experience what it’s like to travel long distances in heavy urban traffic, where they have to make nice with the civilians and be prepared for the unexpected.
Fort Lewis Readying For Its 3rd Stryker Brigade: The Seventh Stryker Brigade, currently called the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, is forming now. The Strykers and the bulk of the soldiers will begin arriving after the first of the year. The brigade will eventually be re-flagged as the 2nd Brigade after the current 2nd Brigade is inactivated next year.
The 2nd Division will have a heavy brigade in South Korea and three medium Stryker brigade ins Washington state once the big reorganization is completed.
A bigger Stryke zone: When the 4th Brigade, 2nd ID deploys next summer, it will be taking the Stryker Mobile Gun System with it. The troops have been wanting the punch of the MGS’ 105mm tank gun in Iraq for some time.
The Stryker is not as heavily armored as a tank. But its quickness relative to other long-range weapons makes up for that, said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pratt. The Mobile Gun System can aim and fire all its guns, including the main cannon, on the move at speeds of 60 mph, he said.
“We can fire at them before they even get a shot off at us,” he said.
That will be of use in convoy protection, one of the main expected uses for the new Stryker in Iraq. If, for instance, a roadside bomb stops a convoy, the Stryker can target nearby snipers at long range and should be able to outgun attacks from rocket-propelled grenade launchers, Pratt said.
Helping infantry get past walls by shooting through them at long range is the vehicle’s other main expected function in Iraq, he said. In urban combat, that ability will save U.S. lives, said Bob Montoya, a civilian instructor from General Dynamics.
Pfc. Zach Duffell jumps off the Stryker Mobile Gun System after preparing it for a training exercise Tuesday at the Yakima Training Center. The new Strykers, which have a 105 mm gun, are the first Strykers to be equipped with the large weapon and will be the first such Strykers sent to a combat zone. They will be sent to Iraq within six to eight months. Earlier models of the Stryker were more lightly armed.
“The GIs love it,” he said. “They’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Rest of Strykers to move to Baghdad: When the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division arrived in Iraq for its second tour last summer, a fair number of them were diverted from Mosul to Baghdad as part of the beef-up following increased violence in the capital. Now the rest of the brigade is apparently going to join them there.
After 16 months, Stryker brigade getting ready to head back to Alaska: Despite the headline, I believe that most of the troops in the 172nd Brigade are home already. Due to the unit’s success, they were tapped to stay on an extra four months and sent to Baghdad. Though they were, of course, disappointed, they quickly realized that they had been chosen because they were so good:
The unit absorbed the news of the extension and bounced back better than Spc. Harry Drum said he thought it would.
–Our heads got a little big ’cause 4th ID needed our help,” said Drum, 23, of Verona, Va.
A couple of the companies had T-shirts made to rub it in, he said. The front of the shirt had the brigade’s insignia patch with the words –We did our tour” and the back had the 4th Infantry Division’s insignia patch with –Now we’re doing yours.”
–I like to think it pisses them off,” a smiling Drum said about 4th ID’s reaction as he worked Sunday at Camp Arifjan to get the Strykers prepared for shipping back to Alaska.
But some are still steamed: Resentment lingers over treatment of Wainwright’s Strykers
Infantry soldiers in Stryker units now eligible for CIB: I didn’t even realize that Stryker troopers weren’t eligible for the Combat Infantryman Badge. What sense did that make? Anyway, the rules have been fixed now, and the change is retroactive to 2001.
Brothers soldier on: One is a minor league baseball player in Hawaii. The other is a SAW gunner with the Stryker Brigade in Iraq.
Alaska is suggested as site for a second Stryker detachment: As legal challenges to the Stryker Brigade forming in Hawaii mount, some suggest putting them in Alaska instead. That doesn’t seem to make sense to Murdoc, as the location in Hawaii is astride the lengthy Pacific logistics line.
In wake of brawl, Army begins late-night patrols at Vilseck: Apparently things are a bit tense between the 2nd Cav and the local Germans.
And, as always, be sure to watch Stryker Brigade News for all the latest on our favorite 8-wheeled hot rod.