By Mr. Robert P Johnson (Leonard Wood)March 17, 2009
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo.- The 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade took another step toward being a fully-operational MEB with the addition of more than 70 new up-armored humvees, March 5.
"This is a project that we have been working on since July (2008)," said Warrant Officer Valerie Bridgham, 4th MEB property book officer. "These vehicles issued today put the brigade at 100 percent of their required number of humvees."
The vehicles are part of a grander plan to bring the brigade up to full capacity across the board on equipment and personnel, said Master Sgt. Andrew Premont, 4th MEB operations, force modifications.
"This is just the first step," Premont said. " The next round of vehicles to be issued to the units will be the larger vehicles, and this we will accomplish before the end of April. By the end of July, the brigade is scheduled to have all the personnel and equipment necessary for it to perform its designed mission."
Premont added that the 4th MEB is just one of three other maneuver enhancement brigades standing up across the Army at the same time and that resources to outfit the unit come from a variety of sources and commands.
"We are getting support from Forces Command, Training and Doctrine Command, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, (Kan.) and of course, for these vehicles, TACOM (Tank and Automotive Command)," Premont said.
Issuing dozens of vehicles at one time was a smooth operation for the 4th MEB Soldiers.
"We're conducting inspections on the vehicles today, checking to see that they are fully operational and have all the right components," said Chief Warrant Officer Billy Bartlett, 4th MEB maintenance officer. "We're conduct a basic inspection and inventory the Basic Issue Items, things like the jacks, wrenches and fire extinguishers."
Most of the vehicles fielded were new M1165 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, with a few M1152 up-armored cargo trucks. The vehicles feature better armor, an improved transmission and engine, as well as a more comfortable ride than previous models of humvees, said Mike Repasch, TACOM light tactical vehicle fielding supervisor.
"These are 100 percent new vehicles," Bridgham said. "These are not reconditioned or transfers from other units. These vehicles are brand new ... and that's something that doesn't happen very often when you stand up a unit."