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Army begins fielding of Strykers

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Army News Service, May 29, 2002) -- The first Stryker Interim Armored Vehicles are now being shipped to Fort Lewis, Wash.

The Military Traffic Management Command is shipping the new family of combat vehicles by commercial truck carriers to the two Interim Brigade Combat Teams at Fort Lewis. The vehicles are being shipped from manufacturing facilities in Anniston, Ala., and London, Ontario.

The 19-ton, eight-wheeled vehicles require special expedited permits for oversize loads, said John Piparato, Chief, of MTMC's Domestic Surface Distribution Division.

"We requested the assistance of more than 20 states to help expedite the permit process," said Piparato. "This provided us three different routes. MTMC declared these shipments as 'Essential to National Defense,' and the feedback from the states was overwhelmingly positive, patriotic and supportive."

The request for MTMC transportation support came from the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and the Defense Contract Management Agency.

As of May 21, four Strykers had been shipped to one of the Army's new IBCTs at Fort Lewis, said Piparato. Seven more are en route. Team drivers are being used to expedite movement.

"Our first deliveries are averaging 52 hours," said Piparato. "This is a true example of the industry-government-military partnership in time of crisis."

The cooperation between local government agencies in getting the oversize permits was extraordinary, he said.

"We are writing notes of appreciation to the transportation departments of all 20 of those states," said Piparato.

The first Strykers are among more than 600 that will eventually be shipped to Fort Lewis, said Brian Ridgway, project officer. The Strykers are the Army's first new armored vehicles in 18 years. The Army has a $4 billion contract with the joint venture team of General Motors and General Dynamics Land Systems Defense Group LLC that calls for the production of 2,100 Stryker vehicles in the next six years.

The Stryker will be the primary weapons platform for the Interim Brigade Combat Teams. It will assist the teams in covering the near-term deployments gap as the Army transforms to a more deployable force. The first units to receive the Strykers are the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Both brigades are expected to be equipped and ready for deployment during fiscal years 2003 and 2004, respectively.

Other units that will receive the Stryker include the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate), Fort Richardson, Alaska; the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light), Fort Polk, La.; the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and the 56th Brigade, 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

The Stryker vehicle can operate at 60 mph. and has a cruising range of 312 miles. The vehicle may be shipped by C-130 aircraft and is combat capable upon arrival in a contingency area. The Stryker family will have 10 different configurations, including: Infantry carrier, mobile gun system, reconnaissance, fire support and medical evacuation vehicles.

The Stryker was named in honor of two Medal of Honor recipients: Pfc. Stuart Stryker, who served in World War II, and Spc. Robert Stryker, who served in Vietnam. Spc. Robert Stryker was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the life of fellow soldiers near Loc Ninh, Vietnam. Pfc. Stuart Stryker posthumously received the Medal of Honor for leading an attack near Wesel, Germany, that captured more than 200 enemy soldiers and freed three American pilots.

(Editor's note: Information provided by a MTMC news release)

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