Strange Vehicles

 One of the first things that you notice when you get off the plane is the unusual variety of vehicles. Most are different from those you’ll see in the US.

(Notice the gun turret on top)mrap


Probably the most common type of vehicle is the MRAP (Mine Resistant Armor Protected) vehicle. These are the convoy security mainstays. They are heavily armored, and ride very high. Their “V” shaped hull deflects and blast away from the passenger compartment, and they have weaponry on the top, some of which is going into automated weapons systems guided by people inside, rather than having a person stick his head up out of the top turret. These vehicles are protected by the “Duke” system that jams any radio traffic, to prevent remote detonation of roadside bombs. Some MRAP’s are for convoy security, some are for passenger transport. They are all very well-protected, and casualties are almost unheard of while driving in an MRAP.


The up-armored Humvees are around all over, but these rarely ever go outside the wire. The Humvee is referred to as a death trap, due to the much greater vulnerability to attacks while in a Humvee. You are much better off in an MRAP, which is much bigger and could squash a up-armored Humvee as though it were a Prius.


(Notice the mine-rollers on the MRAP on the right, and the weather was what we call “blowing dust”)

There are the Scooby buses all over, which transport people around. There are eight different bus routes on this base, and buses run every 30 minutes during the day. So for those without bikes or cars, the bus provides a pretty reliable way to get around. They are driving by TCN’s (third country nationals), normally from India, Bangladesh, etc.   Here’s a Scooby bus, with an armored humvee in the background:



Then there are the myriad of construction and transport vehicles. Most are fairly different from any you’d see in the US, and quite a few are operated by the Turkish contractors on our base.  These actually look like normal construction vehicles anywhere else.

There are some that I just can’t figure out, like these:


Finally, JBB is the one place where American car makers have the edge with passenger vehicles. The Chevy Suburban and Ford Explorer are the most common passenger vehicles for US Military to get around on the base. You saw a bombed-out version of this in a previous post, but they are everywhere. When folks go to lunch, you’ll likely see them in an American made SUV. At least the US Auto companies are making some money by selling these to us folks here at JBB.


Road safety is OK. The TCN drivers are actually very courteous and safe. The Turks and US Military tend to drive too fast, and to be a bit rude, which irks me while riding around on my bike. Like I’ve said, my biggest fear on this base is getting into a bike accident while riding my bike.


4 Responses

  1. Brian:

    Great posting about the vehicles, with photos. Yes, I can see why you, on a bike, might be intimidated and have to take special precautions. 🙂

    That MRAP looks pretty menacing; shades of something out of one of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” movies.

    It is all very impressive; and few Americans have any idea of how sophisticated our military is today. Yes, after a while, you may take it for granted and may even become somewhat jaded. However, like my two years spent at the Pentagon, you are apt to look back many years from now and be very impressed with what was done in Iraq.

    I look forward to your great and very interesting postings.

    Thanks. 🙂


  2. Interesting photos. I wish more of this type of equipment was available and in use when the war started in 2003.

  3. just to shed some info the vehicles you are talking about are actually mine det trailers that get pulled behind a husky these are used for route clearence

  4. Convoy Vehicle Light Improvements – check out Being installed on HEMTT, HET, M915FOV, Stryker, MMPV, HMMWV and Buffalo. Contact for more information – or

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