Pa. National Guard gets upgraded fighting vehicles

Soldiers of the 55th Armored Brigade of the 28th Infantry Division have a new set of wheels: the new and improved Bradley fighting vehicle built by BAE Systems in York.

BAE says this is the most modernized version of the Bradley. It's designed to protect soldiers from battlefield threats and has a powerful gun.

“It cuts through trees, block walls, stone walls, light armor, trucks, everything,” said Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard. “If you're on the receiving end of that, you're going to have a bad day.”

“I don't say that our soldiers deserve these new vehicles, I say they've earned them,” Col. Mike Konzman of the 55th Armored Brigade Combat Team said. “They've earned them with their blood, their sweat and they've earned them with the dedication and selflessness in which they have served this commonwealth and this nation.”

This comes as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is proposing to shrink the Army to its smallest size in three-quarters of a century.

“It's been noted that we're talking about reducing our troop strength to what it was pre-World War II. I cannot help but think that the world is a much more dangerous place than it was in 1938,” Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley said.

Craig said Fort Indiantown Gap getting 120 of these new vehicles is a good sign. He highlighted the importance of the National Guard.

“If you need us, you mobilize us,” he said. “You only pay us a fraction of what you'd pay active duty forces so we are a bargain for national defense, and getting these vehicles here today ensures that we're going to be around for decades to come.”

Soldiers will train with the Bradleys for about a year and will be ready for combat in the summer of 2015.


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