Stryker Brigade Receives Vote of Confidence from Chairman
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
FORT LEWIS, Wash., Oct. 22, 2003 The Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle system received high praise from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers following a test drive here Oct. 21.
Mary Jo Myers, wife of Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, gets a briefing on the Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle at Fort Lewis, Wash., Oct 21. Photo by Jim Garamone
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Myers plowed through standing water and mud and drove on taxiways at the Army airfield here for about 20 minutes before holding a press conference.
"They had to tell me to get back here so I could meet up with you," Myers told reporters following the drive. "I was prepared to drive it all the way back to Washington, D.C."
The chairman said he was impressed with how smoothly the Stryker rides in contrast to other vehicles designed to carry people into battle. The basic vehicle carries nine soldiers with a vehicle commander and driver. "Nine folks get out and they won't be fatigued from just getting there," Myers said.
The vehicle also has the latest technology built in. The Army situational awareness system is integral to the system. Soldiers know where they are, where their friends are and whenever possible where the enemy is. "Plus, with the hatches down, it can defend itself with 50-cals on top, grenade launchers and so on," Myers said. "I think it's a terrific vehicle. I know the infantry folks (who) are going to ride in it think so as well. The smoothness of the ride over rough terrain and the stability and the responsiveness was quite striking to me."
The 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division will deploy the Stryker Brigade to Iraq soon. The first elements of the brigade will deploy to the U.S. Central Command area next month. Myers said the soldiers are ready. He said they have trained with the equipment, modified it as needed and know how to fight using it. Brigade officials said they have taken all the lessons-learned reports to heart and incorporated them into the training regimen.
"I think what we'll see in Iraq is that this system, while not built for that contingency, is going to fit into the needs over there just perfectly," Myers said. "The Stryker system can deliver more infantry, faster over a wider area than any previous system."
But making the infantrymen even more powerful are the other assets accompanying the brigade: the mortar platoons, the towed artillery, the Air Force ground controllers, the four unmanned aerial vehicles. All these and more give the brigade much more combat power than any comparable unit.
Myers said the deployment will teach the Army much that it can use in developing its Future Combat System.
Myers thanked the soldiers for their service, and he asked them to thank their families for the sacrifices that those staying home are also making for the county. A reporter asked what he would tell the families if he could.
"I'd say that what their soldier is doing is really important work," Myers said. "The values that we hold dear are being challenged as they never have been before. We're all in this together: the military member, their families. We appreciate those sacrifices and I hope they understand this is really important work. We've got to get this right."