08 December 2008

2nd SCR Soldiers reunited with their Strykers

2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment soldiers unloaded dozens of Stryker armored personnel carriers at the Vilseck railhead on Saturday. The vehicles were back from a 15-month deployment to Iraq. Seth Robson / S&S.

"Like welcoming home fellow Soldiers":

[One of the] soldier[s] at the railhead, Sgt. Joseph Young, 35, of Lakewood, Calif., is a forward artillery observer by trade but ended up driving a Stryker in Iraq. It was his first experience in the Stryker after past deployments in Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees, he said.

"The Stryker was a nice upgrade. I felt safe in it most of the time," he said. "The only thing that scared us were the [explosively formed projectiles] because they made Swiss cheese of everything."

Insurgents didn’t know how to combat the Strykers, Young said.

"If you shoot at us, a remote-controlled 50-cal (machine gun) is going to point at you," he said. "If not, you will have a squad (of troopers) in your face."

Young said his Stryker had two close calls with roadside bombs, but both bombs were mistimed and neither damaged the vehicle. Small-arms fire bounced off the Stryker’s armor during combat, he said.

"When we took fire you could hear the little pings. I felt really secure inside," he said.

The Strykers were also comfortable with air-conditioners, heaters and a sound system that played heavy metal band Metallica, Young said.

Seeing the Strykers back in Vilseck was like welcoming home fellow soldiers, he said.

"[A Stryker] is a part of you. You can rely on it. It will always get you home and if not you have your buddies’ Strykers who will help you get back," he said.

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