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I Spent 7 Months Driving The Most Vulnerable Vehicle In The US Military

When compared to the Jeep that it replaced, the Humvee was a pretty solid truck, since it was a 'jack of all trades'.

I Spent 7 Months Driving The Most Vulnerable Vehicle In The US Military
DefenseDefense1 min read

It could be a mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) site against enemy aircraft.

It could be a mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) site against enemy aircraft.

Replace the tires with tank-like treads and you have a truck that's awesome in snow.

Replace the tires with tank-like treads and you have a truck that

Or a mobile hospital that could save troops' lives.

Or a mobile hospital that could save troops

We could mount practically every weapon into the turret. This .50 caliber machine gun could hit targets effectively over 2,000 yards away.

We could mount practically every weapon into the turret. This .50 caliber machine gun could hit targets effectively over 2,000 yards away.

Or the Tube launched Optically tracked Wire (TOW) missile system made it an effective tank-killer.

Or the Tube launched Optically tracked Wire (TOW) missile system made it an effective tank-killer.

Turret gunners had it good and bad: you had a 360-degree view and got some wind, but you were the most vulnerable person in the truck.

Turret gunners had it good and bad: you had a 360-degree view and got some wind, but you were the most vulnerable person in the truck.

But as a driver, I could usually count on the truck being able to get over just about any terrain.

But as a driver, I could usually count on the truck being able to get over just about any terrain.

Including fording up to 5 feet of water.

Including fording up to 5 feet of water.

Which we did often in Afghanistan, as the snow melted in spring and created raging rivers.

Which we did often in Afghanistan, as the snow melted in spring and created raging rivers.

Although that didn't mean it didn't come right in my open window and get me soaked.

Although that didn

When you get in before patrol, you push the engine start lever to the right. No keys needed, although we pranked new guys by asking them to 'find the keys to the Humvee'

When you get in before patrol, you push the engine start lever to the right. No keys needed, although we pranked new guys by asking them to

The Humvee wasn't really designed with personal body armor and other gear in mind, so the driver's seat wasn't exactly comfortable.

The Humvee wasn

The vehicle commander had a little more room. The VC sometimes had a Blue Force Tracker — a screen that gave info and map data.

The vehicle commander had a little more room. The VC sometimes had a Blue Force Tracker — a screen that gave info and map data.

As long as we used snow chains on the tires, it did pretty well in winter.

As long as we used snow chains on the tires, it did pretty well in winter.

Although sitting in the version with an open-top back in the Afghan cold was absolutely miserable. I. Was. So cold there.

Although sitting in the version with an open-top back in the Afghan cold was absolutely miserable. I. Was. So cold there.

But the terrain in Afghanistan was much tougher than the Humvee was. A truck overheating was a common occurrence.

But the terrain in Afghanistan was much tougher than the Humvee was. A truck overheating was a common occurrence.

And just about every patrol, a truck broke down and would need to be towed back to base.

And just about every patrol, a truck broke down and would need to be towed back to base.

Then there were the times where we'd get stuck.

Then there were the times where we

As improvised explosives (IEDs) became more common, our mix-and-match armor was basically a joke.

As improvised explosives (IEDs) became more common, our mix-and-match armor was basically a joke.

In early 2005, the up-armoring of Humvees was in full swing as IED's got worse.

In early 2005, the up-armoring of Humvees was in full swing as IED

The new trucks were better against bombs to the sides,

The new trucks were better against bombs to the sides,

but anything detonating underneath it was usually deadly.

but anything detonating underneath it was usually deadly.

Luckily all 5 Marines in this up-armored truck survived and had very minor injuries.

Luckily all 5 Marines in this up-armored truck survived and had very minor injuries.

But despite its many problems, it did serve some other 'improvised missions' well.

But despite its many problems, it did serve some other

You've seen what it's like patrolling Afghanistan in a Humvee ...

You
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