Last vehicle to leave Iraq is home at Fort Hood
Sgt. Sharla Lewis, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsThe final vehicle to cross from Iraq to Kuwait last December made its way to Fort Hood for induction into the 1st Cavalry Division Museum during a ceremony June 12.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Highlighted as the closing of eight years of combat, the crossing of 3rd Brigade Combat Team Soldiers marked the last U.S. troops to leave Iraq.
“This is the only (Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle) in the Army Historical Collection,” Steven Draper, 1st Cav. Div. Museum, said. “The U.S. Army Center of Military History has designated this vehicle as a core artifact.”
A core artifact is identified as a historically significant item that illustrates the history of the Army.
“Like the first jeep to land at D-Day,” he said, “our MRAP is now part of those artifacts.”
The vehicle is a testament to how the military adapted to the threats in Iraq over the years.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan produced new hazards as the enemy began using more powerful improvised explosive devices. To counter this threat, several companies provided specially designed wheeled armor vehicles.
MRAP vehicles were designed to increase the survivability of occupants against known threats such as small arms fire, rocket propelled grenades and IEDs. The vehicles employ a v-shaped hull to divert the blast of explosive devices and provide the crew with an armored survival capsule.
The new addition to the museum is an M1230 Caiman 6x6. It is fitted with an overhead wire mitigation cage to prevent utilities damage and lessen the risk of electrocution. It carries an additional expedient side armor kit that counters the threat of explosively formed penetrators. Rear panels were moved forward to better protect the driver and gunner and the vehicle shows scars of previous engagements.
In the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2011, just as the sun began to rise, a convoy of 108 vehicles crossed the border from Iraq to Kuwait. Plans of their movement were understandably hushed and the vehicles traveled through the night to mitigate risks.
Most of Iraq was still asleep in bed when news of the convoy’s arrival to Kuwait hit the airwaves, but the crewmembers of Praetorian 7, the vehicle’s call sign, remember their feelings of relief and satisfaction.
“Crossing the border was closing that chapter in our military’s history,” Sgt. 1st Class Hilda McNamee, the vehicle’s commander, said.
She said that she was proud to carry the story of their journey through the desert with her and to leave a piece of many Soldiers’ memories at Fort Hood.
“This ceremony makes me feel good,” she said. “This vehicle is a testament to how many lives were saved by the design. I think that future Soldiers here will see it and take pride and ownership and be able to recall the hundreds of hours that they spent riding in an MRAP.”
The vehicle is on display outside the museum alongside a wide selection of historical vehicles and aircraft.