Iron Brigade soldiers combine dirt bikes, ATVs with tanks
Soldiers with Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, swapped their heavily armored tank for a different vehicle altogether. After undergoing two weeks of training, they were ready to put their new lightweight wheels to the ground in a tactical role.
Iron Brigade soldiers are incorporating the use of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles with tanks to reinvigorate the concept of lightweight, fast and agile forward reconnaissance teams during the Network Integration Evaluation 13.1 at Doña Ana Range Complex, N.M., Oct. 17, 2012.
A select few soldiers with Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, swapped their heavily armored tank for a different vehicle altogether. After undergoing two weeks of training, they were ready to put their new lightweight wheels to the ground in a tactical role.
"For the NIE, our mission is to integrate these [dirt bikes and ATVs] into practical use with regular Army forces," said Staff Sgt. Steven Howell, tank commander and Yucca Valley, Calif., native with Company C. "Mixing them with tanks helps you get to the fight faster. With the tanks supporting them they can do almost anything."
The intent is to send quick, nimble vehicles out ahead of the main force to assess terrain, clear routes and identify enemies, said Howell.
"The tank mission is so unique as it is," said Howell. "Adding the dirt bikes and ATVs to that fight will help us build a better platform."
The ATVs and dirt bikes give tank companies the ability to achieve objectives that would otherwise be inaccessible with the larger vehicles, Howell added.
Overall, the goal of Howell's reconnaissance teams is to assess the advantages of combining the agile vehicles with tanks and other capabilities.
The soldier-driven evaluation gives Howell and his troops the opportunity to share their assessment of new technology and help mature the Army's capabilities.
"It's great," said Howell. "You don't often get the rare opportunity to do stuff like this. I'm ecstatic to see how far this goes and what the result will be when this NIE comes to a close."
NIE 13.1 focuses on integrating current Army equipment with emerging technology. The combined tactics of swift, lightweight vehicles with tanks is one of many concepts and technologies being reviewed during the evaluation.
Article by Sgt. Jonathan W. Thomas, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment