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Stryker NBCRV no. 1 comes home.

In May 2003, the first in the series of M1135 Stryker Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicles (NBCRVs) were manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems. According to U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC), there were four original prototype vehicles used for initial design and testing during the engineering, manufacturing, and development phases before full-rate model production began.

A full decade later in 2013, the commander of the 3d Chemical Brigade (Training), Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, requested the placement of several historic vehicles adjacent to the 3d Chemical Brigade headquarters. In an effort to help the 3d Chemical Brigade reach this goal and inform Dragon Soldiers of technological advancements, U.S. Army Chemical Corps Museum, Fort Leonard Wood, staff members began researching the locations and condition of retired Chemical Corps-specific vehicles. Conversations with TACOM LCMC resulted in the location of two obsolete Stryker NBCRVs at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama. The entire drive train; engine pack; transmission; other operational components; and petroleum, oil, and lubricant products were removed from the vehicle, leaving the shell of the original NBCRV. It was only after the demilitarization process was complete that museum personnel were notified that the sanitized vehicle was NBCRV Serial No. 1.

Where had NBCRV No. 1 spent the 10 years between manufacture and demilitarization? Conversations with instructors at Fort Leonard Wood revealed that this particular vehicle had been part of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School (USACBRNS) fleet of training vehicles from May 2008 until March 2011, when it was replaced with newer versions of the NBCRV. NBCRV No. 1 was then transported to Anniston to undergo static display processing.

The full vehicle history was not revealed until the fall of 2015, when staff members of the developing and deploying organizations helped to fill in information from the missing years. According to General Dynamics Land Systems and TACOM LCMC personnel, No. 1 (and prototypes No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4) were delivered to U.S. Army personnel in June 2003 at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, and Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, for the purpose of production qualification testing. These technical tests helped to ensure the effectiveness of the system before full-rate production. No. 1 underwent testing until December 2004, when it was sent to Sterling Heights, Michigan, for refurbishing (December 2004-December 2005) and ultimately returned to Dugway Proving Ground for additional testing. In October 2007, No. 1 was sent to the General Dynamics Sterling Heights Complex for upgrade. In May 2008, No. 1 was delivered to Fort Leonard Wood, where it supported Soldier training at USACBRNS until March 2011. (1,2)

Over its lifetime, No. 1 opened the door for new technology and provided Dragon Soldiers with a realistic training platform. The move to Anniston may have been the last in active service to our Soldiers, but that was not to be the end of the story.

On 14 January 2015, Stryker NBCRV No. 1 returned home to Fort Leonard Wood as CHEM 6647, the Chemical Corps Museum artifact catalog number. Fulfilling the museum mission to retain key items of branch-specific technology for future research and development study, No. 1 now occupies a prominent place in Phoenix Park, near the 3d Brigade Headquarters. The final mission of No. 1 is to educate past, present, and future Dragon Soldiers and their visiting Families, demonstrating that the Chemical Corps, while ever moving forward, still maintains links to its past.

Endnotes:

(1) Robin L. Porter, "Strategic Planning and Business Development at General Dynamics Land Systems," e-mail message, 28 September 2015.

(2) Christopher Hewett, "Signed Approval for 4121-0001(2014)," e-mail message, 13 August 2014.

Ms. Riley is the collection curator with the Chemical Corps Museum. She served in the U.S. Army for 21 years and retired in 1998. She holds bachelor's degrees in philosophy and history from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) and a master's degree in contemporary European history from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
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Author:Riley, Cynthia L.
Publication:CML Army Chemical Review
Date:Dec 22, 2016
Words:666
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