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November 8, 2002

 

 

Army's New Armored Vehicle
Named for MOH Recipient

by Dennis Ryan Pentagram Staff writer

When the Army was looking for a suitable name for its new wheeled armored vehicle for interim brigade combat teams, they found the perfect moniker in the rolls of Medal of Honor recipients.

Stryker, it not only rolls off the tongue and is evocative of offensive lethality, it carries a legacy of duty and ultimate sacrifice. The vehicle is named for two soldiers separated by a generation awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

Pfc. Stuart S. Stryker, Co. E , 513th parachute Infantry, 17th Airborne had just jumped with his unit east of the Rhine on March 24, 1945 near Wesel, Germany. His unit was advancing up a railroad 250 yards from a large building, after advancing only 50 yards they became pinned down by rifles, machine guns and four field pieces.

Carrying his carbine, he jumped up from cover and ran to the front of his unit and under severe fire urged his comrades to jump up and follow him.

The men responded and followed him through a curtain of lead.

The private was shot dead 25 yards short of the building, but his headlong charge diverted the enemy and allowed his fellow paratroopers to surround the objective and capture 200 Germans and to free three members of an Air Force bomber crew. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

Spc. Robert F. Stryker, no relation to his WWII predecessor, served with 1st Infantry Division over two decades later and half a world away in Vietnam. The grenadier and his unit were patrolling through dense tropical undergrowth, when they came under fire.

Small arms, automatic weapons and rockets erupted from concealed bunkers. The specialist hit the bunkers with grenades as an enemy force attempted to surround his company. His accurate grenade fire prevented encirclement by the enemy.

The grenadier threw himself on an enemy Claymore mine to save six wounded comrades. The wounded troops survived, but Robert Stryker died from his wounds on Nov. 7, 1967 near Loc Minh, Vietnam. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.


 

October 18, 2002

Stryker shows capabilities at Andrews

Photo by Dennis Ryan 
A squad of soldiers arrive at Andrews with a Stryker

 

by Dennis Ryan Pentagram staff writer

The Army, with the assistance of the Air Force, demonstrated the delivery of the new Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle from the belly of a C-130 and three Strykers from a C-115 at rainy Andrews Air Force Base Wednesday.

Luminaries such as Newt Gingrich, generals Eric Shinseki and John Keane and Secretary of the Army Thomas White witnessed the planes unload the Stryker, each complete with a squad of nine soldiers.

The Stryker is a 19-ton wheeled armored vehicle that can travel up to 62 miles-per hour and is expected to be the linchpin of the Army's Interim (Stryker) Brigade Combat Teams. The expected six combat teams will contain 300 Strykers each to fill a niche between the Army's traditional heavy or armored units and its light units such as airborne components and as such will be a major component of the Army's transformation into a 21st Century force.

The first two Stryker Brigade Combat Teams will be based at Fort Lewis and ready for deployment in 2003 and 2004.

The vehicles are named for two Medal of Honor recipients -- World War II Pfc. Stuart Stryker, and Spc. Robert Stryker who served in Vietnam.

White talked about the vehicle before the demonstration.

"There's been a lot of talk, that it doesn't fit on a C-130," White said. "We're doing that today in what is reasonably difficult weather."

Sgt. Joel Miller of Alpha Co. 520 of Fort Lewis, Washington has served on the Stryker for four months.

"They're great," Miller said. "I've ridden in the back of a Bradley and a M103 and they blow the doors off them. The ride is 10 times smoother. They carry 50 caliber machine gun or a MK19 grenade launcher."

Spc. Luis Virgen proudly spoke about the vehicle he drives.

"It's easy to deploy," Virgen said. "It allows me to get troops to the battlefield without them getting tired. It holds a nine man squad and the driver and commander, two AT4 anti-tank missiles and 2 Javelins (anti-tank missile) and a Land Nav system, that is also a computer that can receive messages."

Lt. Col. Steve Bullard of the Kentucky Air National Guard and navigator on the C-130 that brought a Stryker to Andrews spoke about the vehicle's transportability.

"Our guys are great at loading," Bullard said. "You need a really good Army driver. It's a tight fit but we adapt no problem. This is probably bigger than we usually carry, but we do it. It's not unusual. We don't have to do anything special."

Bullard mentioned his crew could land, unload one vehicle and load another and take off in less than 30 minutes.

Airman 1st Class Mark Doran, loadmaster on a C-115 talked about his plane's load of three Strykers.

"We just load them right down the middle," Doran said. "We tie it right down. There's plenty of room on either side and you can fit 54 troops."

A C-115 can be loaded with three of the Strykers and ready for take off in less than 40 minutes.

Sgt. Anthony Cavey is a team leader with one of the Stryker squads.

"It's a great vehicle," Cavey said. "It's very quiet, sits low, it's very stumpy. If it blows a tire, it can still keep going. If it blows an axle, it can still keep going. There's a lot of legroom. I'm 6-4 and I can sit comfortably."

Shinseki, spoke about the demonstration.

"I think it went fabulous," he said. "As always the fabulous part was the soldiers. The driver of this vehicle [Virgen] drove for the Playboy Mansion and said this is better."

White was elated after the Stryker's performance.

"I think it went great," White said. "We demonstrated Stryker to ground troops. It's fundamental to transformation."

 

2002, by Comprint Military Publications
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

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