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Army news service (Dec. 14, 2004): Stryker performance scores high with Army leaders.

WASHINGTON -- Speed, protection, and mobility are just a few reasons Army leaders are praising the Stryker's survivability in urban combat and arctic environments.

"The Stryker is the system that is providing our soldiers with battlefield speed, situational awareness, and protection that is unmatched by any other Army system that we have," Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, director of Management and Horizontal Technology Integration, said during a Stryker media roundtable at the Pentagon Dec. 9, 2004.

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Sorenson and other Department of the Army leaders held a video tele-conference with Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) commanders from 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash., and 172nd Infantry Brigade, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, discussing the system's operational successes and lessons learned from the field.

"It's fast and quiet and tracks very well in the snow," said 172nd Commander Col. Michael Shields, via VTC from the brigade's tactical operations center. "The soldiers have complete confidence in the weapon system. It's incredibly accurate and lethal, and it works well in the arctic environment."

The 172nd was in day seven of a warfighting exercise, using lessons learned from 3rd Bde., 2nd ID, which returned from Iraq in October 2004, to shape its training as it undergoes transformation as the Army's third SBCT.

Stryker Proves its Worth

"The soldiers have complete confidence in the survivability based on the dialogue with their counterparts in Iraq," Shields said. He said they are also impressed with the overall digital equipment capabilities.

Lt. Col. Gordie Flowers, commander of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, said the Stryker vehicles have proved their worth in protecting soldiers from rocket-propelled grenades and car bombs. He said while in Iraq, more than 50 percent of his Strykers were hit with rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.

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"No soldiers in my battalion have been killed from either attacks in the Stryker vehicle," Flowers said. "It has provided unprecedented protection of our infantry as we moved on the battlefield. It's the perfect vehicle in an urban environment."

Lt. Col. William "Buck" James, commander of 3rd Brigade, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, said the Stryker system has unmatched mobility both mechanically and tactically.

"It gives you armor protection to deliver that infantry squad to the point of attack, [and] rapidly issue orders to be able to maneuver and gain the advantage over the enemy," James said.

Lessons Learned Improve Stryker Capability

Although the soldiers like the Stryker and are confident in it, officials said it isn't the perfect weapon.

Army procurement officials have taken lessons learned from Iraq and are making changes to be implemented in the near future to provide the most combat-effective equipment to support soldiers on the battlefield.

Col. Don Sando, Training and Doctrine Command system manager, said some of the mid-term improvements include changes to the remote weapon station, day and night optics, laser rangefinder on the infantry carrier vehicle, and some of the other variants. Platforms will be stabilized so that new and improved weapons can be introduced.

They are also looking at initiatives to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle with the add-on slat armor to prevent it from getting stuck in the soft terrain in Iraq.

Other changes have already been applied to the vehicles--for example, the anti-tank guided missile carrier.

Col. Peter Fuller, Stryker project manager, said the carrier's hatch only opened to a 45-degree angle. This didn't allow the soldiers room to add weapons to the system or to stand behind the weapons.

"We immediately modified the hatch to open all the way back to allow the soldiers to put crew-served weapons on the back of the weapon and have people standing in the back, providing security," Fuller said.

Fuller said they have also added a swing mounted on the vehicle so soldiers can hang their crew-served weapons in the back and are experimenting with a shield to go on the hatch to give soldiers more protection.

Lt. Col. Steven Townsend, 3rd Bde., 2 ID commander, said he is convinced that the Stryker is ahead of its game and is exceeding the Army's expectation.

"The soldiers know this vehicle is not perfect, but they do know and believe it's the best vehicle available and they have it to use today," Townsend said. "Our soldiers have the confidence in the Stryker that it will provide, and get there fast and quiet."

Sgt. 1st Class Tammy M. Jarrett
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Title Annotation:In the News
Author:Jarrett, Tammy M.
Publication:Defense AT & L
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:730
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