News: New vehicle blows through Sparta
Story by Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson
RODRIGUEZ LIVE FIRE COMPLEX, South Korea – The engineers in the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion “Spartans,” 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, conducted a demonstration of the Mine Clearing Line Initiating Charge explosive launched from their new inventory of Assault Breacher Vehicles at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, Aug. 14.
During the demonstration, the Company C engineers launched and exploded the MCLIC to clear a simulated minefield. After the minefield was clear, the soldiers conducted breaching drills with the ABV.
The ABV is a new engineering vehicle that is making its way throughout the U.S. Army, both stateside and overseas. This new vehicle has made a heavy impact in the inventory of Company C, 1st BSTB. During the last five months, the Spartan engineers have fielded the only six ABVs on the Korean peninsula.
The ABV brings a new element to the unit’s ability to “Fight tonight” and prepares to take on a primary role for the engineering company, surpassing the older Combat Engineer Vehicle.
“The primary vehicle before was the Combat Engineer Vehicle,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony Davis, Lancaster, Calif., native, Company C, 1st BSTB. “When the rest of the Army upgraded to faster vehicles years ago, the CEV was left behind. Now, with the ABV, we are a viable force and we can maneuver with the task force we support.”
Davis reflected on the days when he was a gunner on the older slower engineer vehicles.
“I used to be a gunner on the CEV back in the day. We used to have to travel several kilometers behind the main element because we couldn’t keep up,” Davis said. “Now we can travel alongside with the tanks. When the main element accelerates, we can accelerate. I’m excited to have the ABV,” he added.
With increased capabilities and efficiency, the ABV greatly reduces the clearing time from hours to minutes. This allows assets in the rear to advance forward faster to provide additional support or aid as needed.
“The ABV greatly increases our capabilities to provide breach support to the maneuver units,” said Capt. Frank Camara, an Oakland native, commanders for Company C, 1st BSTB. “It reduces the time drastically that it would take to conduct a breach, saving my soldiers lives if we would ever have to do a breach. With our older vehicles it used to take several hours to clear a minefield. Now, we can clear roughly a 100-meter minefield in about 10 minutes.”
Budget issues have slowed the distribution of ABVs throughout the Army, so the Spartan engineers are taking advantage of having the only ones on the peninsula.
They wasted no time testing out the new equipment. The unit has spent more than three months in a tactical in environment, increasing their proficiency with the ABVs.
“It’s incredibly important that the soldiers get the doctrine down,” said Staff Sgt. James Mullins, Memphis native, a doctrine-tactics training instructor with the engineer school.
“[Techniques, tactics and procedures] may change, but the doctrine will stay the same. A new soldier coming into a unit needs to learn the doctrine to standard. Soldiers have to understand how breaching works to clear the way for maneuver elements to come through to get to the objective.”
Davis said that a lot of his soldiers are new to the unit; however that hasn’t hindered them from understanding the training. He continued to say that there has been a seamless transition to operating the ABVs.
“I’ve been in the unit for two-and-a-half months and I’ve been training on this vehicle the entire time,” said Pvt. Yoe Garcia, Miami native, an ABV operator with Company C, 1st BSTB. “I’m really excited that I get to be one of the first here in Korea to test out the ABV. I even called home to tell my parents that the Army is letting me test out a new vehicle. We’ve trained so much on the ABVs that I’m extremely confident that we could go down range and take on any objective.”
As the Spartan engineers continue to familiarize themselves with the ABV, the assault vehicle adds to the unit’s fighting strength. The new vehicle is designed to help to ensure the survivability of soldiers and maneuver elements they’re supporting.