FORT DRUM One unit from post has fielded a group of Stryker vehicles it said will keep it ready for chemical warfare in the future.
When everybodys leaving a contaminated area, these guys are going in, said Capt. Ronald C. Kamp, commander of the 59th Chemical Company.
The company is the only unit on post to field the vehicles, which have been in commission since the early 2000s.
Though the armored 8-wheel vehicle can be modified for a range of different functions, the model used by the company has multiple sensors that can detect the presence and travel patterns of toxic materials, identify the materials and relay that information by satellite to leaders at other locations to give them a better situational awareness.
The pressurized interior of the 24-foot-long vehicle allows it to travel close to contamination areas while protecting the four-soldier crew inside, the company commander said.
The vehicle itself is a protective shell, Capt. Kamp said.
The four Stryker vehicles have been on post for a few weeks, he said. Over the next several months, the unit will be charged with learning to operate the vehicles and their computer systems.
Capt. Kamp said a big grin came across my face when he saw the vehicles for the first time, and that being the only unit on post to have them is a point of pride for the company.
On Friday morning, soldiers from the company, along with representatives of General Dynamics Land Systems, the Strykers manufacturer, were loading gear into the vehicles and preparing them for use over at the Force Integration and Modernization Facility.
The companys website says the 10½-foot-tall, 11½-foot-wide vehicles have a maximum speed of about 60 miles per hour, and a range of 330 miles.
The rugged steel exterior of the vehicles, Capt. Kamp said, improves their ability to sustain enemy fire.
Its not an Abrams tank, but you can hang in a fight much longer, he said.
The Stryker vehicles also represent a marked improvement from the M93 Fox and Humvees previously used by the company.
Along with the new capabilities, Staff Sgt. Terence M. Erb, platoon sergeant for the companys 1st Platoon, said, with these trucks, we do it a hell of a lot faster.
See video of the new Strykers at http://wdt.me/stryker.