Convoy Ingenuity: Strykers Strike Back
By PFC Abel Trevino
13th COSCOM PAO
Combat logistic patrols carrying necessary supplies, such as fuel and food have fallen under daily attacks on supply routes, resulting in the implementation of a new method of protection.
Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division have successfully applied their resources escorting convoys safely to and from LSA Anaconda.
The Stryker is an armored personnel carrier that boasts a large arsenal of weaponry as well as an infantry squad that can effectively engage an enemy, said Staff Sgt. Nevin Gamble of the 3rd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. "It's basically a fear factor. If they see a bigger vehicle, an armored vehicle, the less they tend to attack," he said.
The mark of success is in the safe arrival and departure of convoys since the Strykers have been manning security, as well as the increase in convoy traffic.
"When we first got to Scania, the yard was packed. Ever since then, you can see convoys pulling day and night," Gamble said.
The continuous movement of convoys between compounds demonstrates the success Strykers have had combating and intimidating insurgents.
"It's been a noticeable increase [in the safety of convoys] because the insurgents do not like messing with the Strykers too much," said Sgt. Justin Keith Bliven of the 3rd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. "There is a better probability of the Strykers getting the job done [more efficiently], than [how] the previous units before this were getting them done."
Strykers have successfully deterred Anti-Coalition Forces still determined to attack convoys.
"When we first started doing this, there was a lot of heat that the trucks were taking. There were people getting captured, a lot of people dying, they were also dropping mortar rounds. As soon as we started running with the convoys, there hasn't been too much action. We've come across some small arms fire but nothing serious. If we weren't there I'm sure it could have been worse," said Sgt. Gaylord Hillary Reese of the 3rd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div.
While the Stryker boasts advanced armor and weapons systems, it also has a keen edge on early detection of improvised explosive devices.
"The sights that are outfitted on the Stryker can see a good distance out. Our point truck is keeping an eye out for IEDs that are a long way up the road so we can spot them a lot easier and sooner than other convoys can," said Reese. These advantages not only make the personnel manning the Stryker safe, but also those being safeguarded in the convoy.
"The trucker personnel feel safer, probably because they don't get hit as much," Gamble said.
Strykers and their manning units continue to protect convoys with the presence of heavier weaponry and armor, as well as highly trained troops prepared to face any enemy to deliver those who rely on them safely and expediently.
(Editor's note: This story is one part in a continuing series on convoy ingenuity and the life of military truckers.)