Support: March 24, 2004

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Driving a truck in Iraq is a dangerous job, but one National Guard truck company, the 1032nd Transportation Company of Virginia has taken it's vehicles 2.3 million miles up and down the MSR (Main Supply Route) and through some rough Sunni Arab areas, without a single fatality. They have been attacked several dozen times, but have had only five wounded, all of whom returned to duty. Part of this was pure chance, for there are not that many attacks (about 20 a day now) considering the number of U.S. troops (130,000) operating in the area. But the troops in the 1032nd also took care of themselves, applying improvised armor to their trucks and protective vests. The troops did not get the bulletproof protective vests (with the composite plates in the front and rear) until a few months ago. So in the meantime, many added metal plates to the vests they had. This would have been heavy and unwieldy if you were running around as infantry, but sitting in a truck, it was not much of a burden. And it saved at least one soldiers life. The 1032nd also adapted a Vietnam era convoy protection idea by putting together "Gun Trucks" (large trucks with lots of armor, machine-guns and other weapons.)

National Guard support units typically contain more older troops (in their 40s and 50s) and extra experience enables these outfits to more quickly adapt to new situations. The 170 soldiers of the 1032nd were called up for full time duty in February, 2003 and arrived in Iraq two months later. 

 


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