REDMOND, Ore. - Members of the 1-82 Cavalry of the Oregon National Guard trained in Redmond over the weekend, getting more familiar with their new-era vehicle, called the Stryker.
1-82 Major Christopher Kerr said on their second training session Saturday that the Strykers are lightly armored and built for speed, agility and the ability to cross various types of terrain.
"It is very versatile. You can pretty much go anywhere," Kerr said. "Whether it's water or whether it's fires, it's a great domestic operation, or emergency-type vehicle for the Oregon National Guard."
There are 10 variants of the Stryker model, of which the Oregon National Guard received seven earlier this year. Many of the Guard's soldiers spent a couple weeks learning every detail about how a Sryker operates. It's different than the tanks many are used to, simply because it's a wheeled vehicle.
"We can go off-road, we can do a lot more stealth movements, vs. track vehicles," said vehicle Commander James Keller.
The Stryker is also equipped with a long-range surveillance system that allows soldiers to scout terrain over 13 miles away.
"Having that stealth capability allows us to get further behind or closer to enemy lines and accomplish our mission," Keller said.
Other than Washington, the National Guard unit is the first to adopt the Stryker vehicles on the West Coast. That makes the training very important.
"We can't replicate this inside of an armory. We have to be out here," said 1-82 Cavalry commander Dominic Kotz. "When we are out here, we have to utilize every hour that we possibly can. We do 24-hour operations, and that enables us to be better prepared for if and when we are asked to either fulfill our state or federal mission."
The 1-82 Cavalry Squadron has units in Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Lebanon and The Dalles.
Kerr also asked drivers who encounter the Stryker or other Guard vehicle on the road to give them a bit more room, as they are wider than most vehicles on the road and have blind spots.