Story and Photo by
Staff Sgt. Ricardo Branch
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers welcomed the return of the Stryker fighting vehicle during a vehicle issue draw, here, Sept. 13.
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, “Warriors,” 25th Infantry Division, returned from a 12-month deployment to Iraq three months ago, but without its original vehicles.
Those Stryker vehicles were shipped from Kuwait to Alabama during the redeployment process.
The newly overhauled vehicles, which were retrofitted and updated, were slotted to replace the Warrior Bde.’s aging fleet of battle-tested vehicles upon redeployment.
“These vehicles came from Aston, Ala., where they were serviced and reset,” said Max Stritzel, Stryker mechanic, General Dynamics. “In reset, the entire vehicle was taken apart, and all the systems were checked for serviceability, updated and repaired to Army standard for handoff.”
Turning in old vehicles and drawing newly overhauled vehicles allow units to receive equipment synchronized with their deployment timeline.
“Our Stryker vehicles play a key role in moving our Soldiers across the battlefield,” said Maj. Patrick Roddy, operations officer, 2nd BCT. “Getting them back in the hands of the unit truly sets conditions for us to begin training again.”
Modifications to the Warrior Bde. Stryker fleet include updated blast seats, air horns, a remote video surveillance system camera and a new suspension system.
“These Strykers have better survivability than the previous vehicles used by this brigade,” Stritzel said. “They are a big step up.”
The changes to the vehicles provide increased protection for Soldiers, while making the vehicle more effective in executing the mission, he added.
“These modifications are current to what the Strykers are using in Afghanistan,” Stritzel said. “We’ve had a lot of praise thus far on the modifications. Deployed Soldiers are conducting a wide variety of missions and reporting the new seats, cameras and suspension are great.”
Stritzel explained the updated Stryker provides improved safety to passengers; improved seats absorb the impact of improvised explosive devices, allowing a Soldier to ride safely and walk away with fewer injuries from vehicle rollovers and explosions.
Soldiers inspected the equipment and conducted preventive maintenance checks on the vehicles, before embarking on a short road test to perform function checks.
“I drove a Stryker in Iraq, and they handled pretty well over there,” said Spc. Matthew Mulac, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd BCT. “There are some changes to the seating and suspension system, which we’ll get a better feel for as we use them.”
Mulac is confident that the updated vehicles will perform as expected, and he looks forward to using them to train new Soldiers on Stryker operations.
“It feels good to have them again,” Mulac said. “They look new, and we can’t wait to take them to the field, (and) maybe set up some of the 50-caliber machine guns and see what they can do. Before today, we were doing a lot of classroom training, but now we can begin the hands-on training.”
Following the Stryker draw, the Warrior Bde. will be moving forward with individual, crew and unit training in the upcoming months.
“Bringing Strykers back into the formation is a key task,” Roddy said. “To ensure that we begin training properly, we need to ensure the training we conduct is properly resourced and trained with the appropriate leaders. It varies by unit, but the initial process is getting (Strykers) back into the formation, so we can start training again.”