Wednesday, July 1, 2009

War Story Wednesdy: Motor Transport

When I say over there in the "about me" bit that I am a Veteran, I don't give a lot of details. More for War Story Wednesday? So here is today's topic: Motor Transport. My M.O.S. (That is Military Occupational Specialty for the uninitiated) was "3533": Logistics Vehicle Systems (LVS) Operator. So..a fancy acronym-tastic way to say that I drove trucks; the fanciest trucks. The LVS series of vehicles are all powered by the Mk48 front module, which has the cab and engine, and are then coupled with a rear module. There are several rear module variants. The Mk14, for example, is a simple flat bed that can be fitted with I.S.O. (International Standards Organization) locks to haul shipping containers and connex boxes, or cargo can just be placed on the bed and strapped down. The Mk17 has a smaller flatbed (with fold-up sides), and also has a hydraulic crane. Below is a photo of some of the most difficult LVS work I got into. In the photo, I have just returned to our camp after a vehicle recovery mission. I am driving the Mk48/16 rear module, which has a fifth-wheel to pull an M870 low-boy trailer:
I actually have the trailer detached, because its bit for the fifth-wheel is on a collapsible goose-neck. I am backed up to the back of the trailer (those are the rear ramps of the trailer sticking up behind my four main LVS axles). I have used a winch on the Mk16 to recover an Army 5-ton that was hit by an enemy IED. It wasn't a particularly large or effective IED, but it did flatten the tires and took out a big piece of the passenger side axles. In the picture, if I remember correctly, we are off-loading the Army 5-ton over at the Army's side of our camp.

As an LVS Operator, I also went through all of the regular Motor Transport Operator training (MOS 3531), and was fully licensed to drive (and boy did I drive) the normal Motor Transport vehicles: The 7-ton MTVR and the ubiquitous HMMWV (High Moblity Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle or 'humvee'). Below is a photo of a 7-ton towing a HMMWV:
There are two things I would like to point out in this photo: first, we are in the middle of nowhere, and second, that HMMWV is all kitted-out and up-armored. Regarding the first, there isn't much to say. We are out in the desert. It is vast and empty. I believe we are on a raid in the photo, or on our way back. That is an entire other post, however. On the second point: That is not one of our Motor-T platoon HMMWV's. It belonged to H&S (Headquarters and support) Company or one of the other companies in my battalion. We didn't get up-armored HMMWV's until a few weeks before we redeployed back to the U.S. Our convoys were thusly comprised entirely of 7-tons (generally) with a few LVS's thrown in to haul fuel, heavy equipment, etc. The 7-ton in this picture is a good representation of our average 7-ton: an armored turret for a gunner, bolt-on armored door, and ballistic windshield.

Alrighty...I think I am going to go swimming now. It is summer, after all!


  1. Yes. High-tech, high-speed, low-drag, fancy trucks. Some of the guys would deride the trucks because purportedly the truck was designed by a woman, but I think the those guys were idiots and the truck was totally amazing and could do all sorts of over-the-top maneuvers.