CAMP BUERHING, Kuwait -- A familiar looking vehicle with a new facelift recently arrived in Kuwait to meet the Marines of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).
Though this vehicle may look like the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle of years, this particular HMMWV, or the M1114, is quite different.
According to Staff Sgt Patrick Schofell, motor transport chief for Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, the main difference between the new M1114 and the older HMMWV is the way the vehicle is constructed.
Schofell explained the older humvees had retrofitted armor that caused a large amount of stress on the drive train and the suspension. The M1114 rolls off the assembly line with the armor already on it. Furthermore, the suspension and the drive train built to better handle the load.
The new vehicles come off the assembly line fully dressed with the new armor so the suspensions and drive train are adequate for the load, said Schofell.
One particular feature that Schofell pointed out about the vehicle is the way the armor is built on. Being fully encapsulated, as he explained, there are fewer gaps in the armor keeping the passengers inside safer as a result.
The important part is the safety of the passengers inside. The M1114 is definitely the way to go if you're trying to save lives.
Speed and handling are also a factor when dealing with the new vehicle. Since the M1114 has a drive train built to handle the load of the armor. Gone are the days of manually shifting the automatic transmission which had to be done with the older humvees to keep from damaging the transmission.
A 6.5 liter turbocharged diesel pushes the vehicle down the road, explained Schofell, and because of the beefier suspension it now has the ground clearance it needs to get the job done.
As a fighting vehicle, it's more reliable. It's not going to break down in a combat convoy and saving lives it's definitely [safer] out there, said Schofell.
Sgt John Bishop, platoon sergeant for BLT 2/4, explained the M1114 is a favorite among Marines.
Everybody loves them because they're brand new. They hold up well because of the armor that is built on them. The M1114 is better than any of the other [older] vehicles that we have here, said Bishop.
The handling is one aspect that has been improved, he explained.
In my experience it handles well. They drive pretty smooth because they're built for [the load], he said.
15th MEU (SOC) is currently conducting sustainment training while in the U.S. Central Command's area of operations. It is comprised of its command element; Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165 (Reinforced); and Combat Logistics Battalion 15.