Skip to comments.Pioneering Army Unit to Debut in Iraq
Posted on 08/02/2003 1:42:16 PM PDT by kattracks
FORT LEWIS, Wash. (AP) - A whisper of cool, mountain air slips through an open window in Col. Michael Rounds' office at this quiet Army post in the shadow of the Cascades. The setting could hardly be more unlike what Rounds' soldiers will face shortly in hot and chaotic Iraq.
Rounds commands a newly formed Stryker brigade combat team - the first of its kind, intended as a model for the Army of the future, and scheduled to make its combat debut in Iraq within two months.
``The brigade is ready to go,'' Rounds said in an interview.
Rounds' unit, formed from the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, has trained intensively this year in anticipation of being certified combat ready by October. It was not until July 23, however, that the soldiers learned they will be going to Iraq as part of a troop rotation plan.
Although President Bush declared on May 1 that major combat was over, military commanders in Iraq have said repeatedly that they still are in a war zone, one in which the tool they prize most - timely information about the enemy - is the very one that Rounds' soldiers are equipped to provide.
``One of the greatest advantages we have is that we can share information very quickly, and by sharing information very quickly we feel we are less vulnerable'' to surprise attack, Rounds said Friday.
The Iraq mission is a milestone for the Stryker Brigade, which itself represents a first step in the Army's effort to become a force more relevant to 21st-century missions.
It may one day be recognized as the most telling legacy of Gen. Eric Shinseki, who retired this summer after four years as the Army's chief of staff, the top uniformed officer. In October 1999, Shinseki outlined a plan for remaking the Army by 2010 into a more versatile force that can move quickly onto distant battlefields, armed with unparalleled ability to dictate the pace of fighting.
Coincidentally, it was the Army's experience in the Persian Gulf in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait and seemed poised to grab the oil fields of eastern Saudi Arabia, that led to the Stryker model.
Shinseki often recalls that the Army's only answer to Iraq's threat to those Saudi oil fields was to send the 82nd Airborne Division. It is quick to respond but was too lightly armed to sustain an effective defense had the Iraqi army crossed the Saudi border and raced for the oil fields.
It was that gap between light and heavy forces that Shinseki and others realized must be closed.
Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano, commanding general of Fort Lewis and the Army's 1st Corps, said in a separate interview Friday that he has no doubt that Rounds has prepared his soldiers for the challenges of Iraq.
``It's going to be difficult,'' he said. ``But I have all the confidence in the world that these soldiers will do just fine. They are pumped up. They are psyched up.''
The Stryker is the Army's first new combat vehicle in two decades, although it actually is intended as a stepping stone to the ultimate goal: a high-tech family of fighting systems known as the Future Combat System, which still is on the drawing board and is expected to include unmanned ground and aerial vehicles.
One Stryker can be flown aboard an Air Force C-130 cargo plane, which is designed to land on short, substandard airfields in remote areas. Thus the Stryker Brigade is capable of reaching areas, including the deserts of western Iraq, that units built around tanks could not reach by air.
Gen. John Keane, the acting Army chief of staff, announced on July 23 a plan to maintain the current troop strength in Iraq while allowing those who have been there longest to go home. To do that, the Army is calling on the National Guard as well as active duty units such as the Stryker Brigade.
Asked what gave him confidence that the first Stryker Brigade is ready for real-world combat, Keane pointed to the Fort Irwin, Calif., and Fort Polk, La., training sessions the Strykers conducted last spring.
``We put it through its paces against the toughest opponent our forces have ever faced'' - the training center competition, he said. ``They are ready to go.''
The Stryker is a 19-ton, eight-wheeled armored vehicle built in the United States and Canada. It comes in two variants: an infantry carrier and a mobile gun system. The infantry carrier, in turn, has eight configurations, including a reconnaissance vehicle, a mortar carrier and a vehicle for the brigade commander.
It is named for two Medal of Honor winners: Pfc. Stuart S. Stryker, killed in action in Germany on March 24, 1945; and Spec. 4 Robert F. Stryker, killed in Vietnam on Nov. 7, 1967. They were not related.
On the Net:
Stryker Brigade Combat Team: http://www.lewis.army.mil/transformation/
I am all for mobility, and I wish those fine troops the best, but can somebody tell me what a Stryker can do that some variant of the LAV could not?
Back in the 1970's the Soviet Airborne had motorized rifle regiments mounted in air droppable BMD Infantry Fighting Vehicles, with fire support provided by ASU-85 self-propelled assault guns. That was 30 years ago and our Airborne is going to war in GAC's.
I think it is a good thing that we have to go to the other side of the world to get to the bad guys, but how we get there affects how fast we go and what we can take with us. I'm a Stryker skeptic. I wonder if it is just too big and heavy and hard to maintain. Wouldn't we be better off to give the light infantry and airmobile and airborne armored HUMMV's and ATV's and Chenoweth's and an air-droppable Sheridan replacement, and give the Marines more M1A2's and the amphibs to haul them?
Seems to me what we need instead of Strykers is an amphibious armored cavalry regiment.
If this new unit
was designed to counter big
incursions, then what
will they be doing
in present-day Iraq, where
troops are mopping up?
If they're not sent in
to kick big butt big time, will
they be told to look
friendly, and do jobs
like neighborhood policing? Am
I missing something?
"My name is Stryker, Sgt. John M. Stryker. You're goin' a be my squad, a rifle squad. Three of us have seen action, Cpl. Dunn, Charlie Bass and myself. You're goin' a learn from us. In boot camp ya learned out of a book. Out here you've got a remember the book and learn a thousand things that have never been printed--probably never will be. You got a learn right and ya got a learn fast. And any man that doesn't want a cooperate, I'll make him wish he hadn't been born. Before I'm through with ya, you're goin' a move like one man and think like one man. If you don't you'll be dead. You guys have had a nice easy day. I hope ya enjoyed it because it's the last one you're goin' a get for a long time. You joined the Marines because you wanted to fight. Well, you're goin' a get your chance and I'm here to see that you know how. If I can't teach ya one way, I'll teach ya another. But I'll get the job done. The skipper of this outfit is Capt. Joyce. Platoon leader is Lt. Baker. Platoon Sergeant, Sgt. Ryke. Any questions?--That's all!"
It is a variant of the LAV--has some upgrades, but is not that different.
This site has some info on it:
I am not at home or I would have HTML'd that link for you
Stryker is not a Marine LAV-25. Here are the Advantages of the LAV-25 over the Stryker ITC (Infantry Troop Carrier):
1) LAV-25 is amphibious, Stryker is not.
2) LAV-25 is more nimble and cross country maneuverable due to 10,000+ lbs less weight. LAV-25 is around 14 tons and the Stryker is around 19 tons.
3) LAV-25 can be sling loaded by CH-53, Stryker cannot.
4) LAV-25 has 25mm bushmaster and turret. Stryker has remote mounted .50 cal OR Mk19.
5) LAV-25 is truely C-130 transportable, Most of the 10 Stryker varients are not.
6) LAV-25 costs 1/3 the price of a Stryker.