TIKRIT, Iraq, July 20, 2006 -- A safety innovation has hit the battlefield in the form of heavy armor added to Humvees and is now on the roads of Iraq.
The 626th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, created the Rakkasan Armament Program, known as RAP, in January 2006. This program is intended to provide shielding between the soldiers and the number one killer of U.S. troops in Iraq -- the improvised explosive device.
"The responsibility of the commander is to figure out what we need to respond to this evolving threat, said Col. Michael Steele, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team commander. The easiest, the fastest and most appropriate answer is add additional armor. There are many different Humvee armor programs being conducted by units in Iraq. This particular effort is based upon threats the 3rd Brigade Combat Team is experiencing in their area of operation.
The additional armor is designed to combat those threats. No armor program is going to be 100 percent effective, but U.S. soldiers deserve whatever help they can get to survive on the roads of Iraq, according to documentation provided by the RAPs leader, Capt. Keith Tyler, support operations officer for maintenance, 626th Brigade Support Battalion.
Sgt. James Hartleob, welding shop non-commissioned officer in charge for Company B, 626th Brigade Support Battalion, from Minot, N.D., estimates the additional armor has saved more than 25 lives as of July 2006. These numbers are determined by Hartleob and his staff examining the condition of vehicles after an attack.