Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa.-- Soldiers stood proudly next to their vehicles outside the Allen Reserve Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, as they awaited a distinguished visitor, Jan. 12.
During his visit to JBLM, Gen. David Rodriquez, commander U.S. Army Forces Command, took the opportunity to find out what the Soldiers of the 2nd and 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, 2nd Infantry Division, have to show for equipment and manpower.
"Gen. Rodriguez came to visit and wanted to see the Strykers up close and the different variants so he could become more familiar with them," said Staff Sgt. Shane Gallagher, 4th Bde. operations noncommissioned officer.
The two brigades displayed seven different variants of the Stryker, including two Infantry Carrier Vehicles, a Mobile Gun System Vehicle and Medical Evacuation Vehicle, said Gallagher.
For some of the Soldiers, this would be the first time they have ever interacted with a senior official. Despite some nerves all the Soldiers were eager to show and tell what they knew about their vehicle and weapons platforms.
"I really was not too nervous, for the most part I know everything about my vehicle and I'm confident that I could answer any question that he could ask," said Pfc. Justin Messer, 4th Bde MEV driver. "It makes me feel good that someone of his level wants to come down here to see the units."
The two brigades took the opportunity to show the FORSCOM commander the vehicles that make their jobs easier and safer when deployed to combat zones.
"We have two hull types here today to show the general, 4th Bde. has the older variant with the flat bottom hull Stryker and 2nd Bde. has the newer double 'V' bottom Stryker that is better for surviving IED (Improvised Explosive Device) blasts," said Gallagher.
There was one common opinion about the Stryker's that the Soldiers wanted to share with Gen. Rodriguez whenever he would ask.
"I want the general to take away from his visit that this vehicle is saving lives of the Soldiers in combat. We want more of them," said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Laguzza, 2nd Bde Stryker driver.
For Gallagher, the opportunity for his Soldiers to display their vehicles to the FORSCOM commander was important one to illustrate how vital these vehicles are to the Soldiers who use them.
"These are great vehicles and I stand behind them completely. I am excited to see the new improvements. All of these different vehicles have to function together for us to be successful. When they are all together they are one lethal combination. We are glad the FORSCOM commander gets to see them up-close," said Gallagher.