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thedrifter
07-02-07, 07:23 AM
Monday, 07/02/07
Troops will get influx of armored vehicles
17,770 Humvee replacements resist roadside bombs better

USA Today


WASHINGTON — Soldiers on patrol in Iraq will get more protection from makeshift bombs under a Pentagon plan to build thousands more heavily armored vehicles to replace Humvees, a move applauded by some Tennessee veterans,

The decision late last week to build as many as 17,770 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles for the Army comes after Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the vehicle the Pentagon's top priority. The vehicle's V-shaped hull and raised chassis are up to four times safer against the top threat to U.S. troops in Iraq — improvised explosive devices.

Marine Cpl. Gene Leigh McCollum of Mt. Juliet received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained when a roadside bomb hit his Humvee in Iraq in 2004.

He said he is all for the increased production of mine-resistant vehicles, especially because of their design.

"A lot of times we'd hit the (bombs), and it would be under the vehicle when they detonated it," he said. "Back then, we were packing sandbags into the floors of the Humvees."

In a June 28 letter to Gates, Sens. Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Kit Bond, R-Mo., said the vehicles could have saved as many as 742 U.S. troops if they had been deployed when Marines in Iraq's restive Anbar province filed an urgent request for 1,169 of the vehicles in February 2005.

Ellie