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Riding shotgun in Afghanistan

As combat missions increase in Afghanistan a very dangerous job gets even more important—that of delivering supplies along the sometimes very vulnerable roads. Riding in MRAP vehicles, also known as “gun trucks,” the armed escorts for these comvoys protect Afghan army “jingle trucks” and military palletized load system trucks, all loaded down with military cargo. The convoys take the equipment to FOBs, sometimes through narrow city streets or in difficult terrain, always under the threat of enemy fire and facing the possibility of breakdowns or needing to take an alternate route.br /The number of troops moving into Afghanistan is expected to grow to more than 60,000 by the end of the year. With them comes an increased demand for supplies. The need is met by logistics convoy missions, called CLPs.br /Besides MRAPs and cargo trucks, patrols include at least one wrecker in case it’s necessary to pull cargo trucks out of loose sand and up steep hills. Each gun truck carries at least a driver, truck cmdr, gunner and assistant gunner. “We’ve a defensive posture,” said one National Guard soldier in a gun truck. “But, if someone were to have hostile intent against our movement, we’re equipped to eliminate or reduce the threat.”br /The troops who take the fight to the enemy properly get much of the recognition during combat—but without the logistic support there would be no combat ops. Those who run and protect the supply convoys have a very dangerous and extremely important mission.

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