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NEWS IN BRIEF

19 Jun 06. The Marine Corps is using fat cats to combat enemy-emplaced roadside bombs in Iraq. However, these hefty “Cougars” aren’t felines. They’re heavily armored wheeled trucks that are robust enough to ward off much of the deadly energy generated by improvised explosive devices favored by insurgents. Cougars and other similarly built U.S. vehicles employed in Iraq feature armor-plated V-shaped bottoms designed to deflect the upward explosive power of roadside bombs that account for the majority of U.S. casualties in Iraq. Explosive ordnance teams as well as combat engineers use the trucks. Each can weigh 30,000 pounds or more, depending on the model. The trucks began arriving in Iraq in the late fall of 2004 as part of an accelerated Defense Department acquisition program. Reports from Iraq say the heavyweight trucks have saved many servicemembers’ lives. “These vehicles provide unmatched protection capabilities for combat engineers and EOD teams by withstanding both armor-piercing and anti-tank mine blasts,” Marine Maj. Gen. William D. Catto told House Armed Services Committee members during a June 15 hearing here. The Marines have fielded 26 Cougars in Iraq, thus far, Catto said. Joint EOD rapid response vehicles, known by the acronym JERRVs, are another, similar variant of the Cougar concept. The Marine Corps has ordered 122 JERRVs, Catto said, for overseas deployment to joint-military explosive ordnance disposal teams. The Marine Corps is slated to get 38 JERRVs of its own. These vehicles “are designed with protection capabilities that are very similar to the Cougar,” Catto, who heads Marine Corps Systems Command, said at the hearing. Catto said all 122 JERRV deliveries are to be completed this month. And MCSC, he added, awarded a contract in May 2006 for 57 more trucks earmarked for joint forces’ use. (Source: Military.com)

20 Jun 06. Tribute to MTS. To the people of MTS, I would like to take a moment to thank you for the MTS system. I will give you a brief description of how important your system is to the men in the field. On May 6 2006 while escorting a PWC convoy north to FOB Duke, one of my guntrucks was hit by an EFP (Exsplosive Formed Projectile). The blast instantly killed the driver the truck commander recieved a serious head wound that would later be the result of his death, the gunner survived the blast with serious leg injuries. the Assistant Convoy Commander could not get communications with the SINCGARS radio system for emergency response. Luckily we had two MTS systems on that convoy, one in the destroyed truck and one by chance in the ACC’s truck. Tha ACC was able to communicate back the situation to our Headquarters, request 9 line medevac, and QRF for recovery. Had the men of that convoy not had the MTS the gunner may have
also died that day. We have now made it mandatory to have two MTS systems per convoy. Although difficult to arrange at times, due to not enough systems to put one in every truck. We have come to rely on your system as the primary source of communications to the rear. Keep up the the great work, continue to improve the product from soldier feedback, and most importantly thank you all for saving lives. SFC Caswell, US Army

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