MRAPs All Around

When the Air Force’s 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group took sole responsibility for the defense of Joint Base Balad, Iraq, earlier this month, it did so with numerous mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, the US military’s newest armored vehicles. While airmen have operated MRAPs previously, this mission marks the first time that they are employing them on this scale. “The MRAP will bring stability, security and—with the armor—safety for our people,” said MSgt. Paul Beuchat, deployed from Nellis AFB, Nev., as quick response force assistant NCO-in-charge for the 532nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. A1C Eric Babcock, 532nd ESFS QRF member and also deployed from Nellis, called the MRAP “a very good vehicle.” He continued, “It’s more comfortable to drive than a Humvee, with a lot more room inside.” MRAPs provide ground forces with better protection against improvised explosive devices than Humvees. In September, the Air Force delivered the 10,000th MRAP to Southwest Asia. (Balad report by TSgt. Craig Lifton)