Hawaii Troops Headed to Iraq Say Strykers Offer More Safety

Horace Locklear
Horace Locklear

SCHOFIELD (KHNL) - More than 3,500 soldier's from Schofield Barrack's Stryker Brigade are getting ready to go to Iraq. After spending the last three weeks training on the Big Island, the soldiers returned to Oahu today. KHNL News 8's Mary Simms tells us why these soldiers are one step closer to their next big mission.

This convoy, led by a "stryker," is headed to Iraq.

When this unit deployed to Iraq in 2004, they didn't have stryker vehicles. They're thankful that this time, they will.

"It is definitely a capability addition to what we were, a "light" infantry unit, said Major Jim Craig."

Platoon sergeant Horace Locklear deployed to Iraq with 2nd Brigade in 2004. Now, he's getting ready to go back.

"With the stryker, it provides a safety net for our troops in the back, unlike last time when we sat in HUMVEE's with no armor. The stryker provides us with a lot more safety capability for our soldiers in the rear," said Sgt. First Class Horace Locklear.

Last time sgt locklear's unit deployed to iraq, they relied heavily on HUMVEE's, but he says the addition of stryker vehicles will mean something very important to these soldiers."}

"Having more protection with a stryker verses a HUMVEE in an IED explosion, the stryker's will hold up a lot better than a HUMVEE, said Locklear."

Improvised explosive devises, or IED's, are one of the main causes of death and injury for U.S Soldiers in Iraq.

Stryker's aren't a fail-safe, but they offer these soldiers some peace of mind.

"All of us are a little scared, you know and we're all going to miss our families a lot, but it's a part of the Army, and we do what were told to do and complete this mission. And, hopefully pull everybody out real soon," said Locklear.

These soldiers are scheduled to deploy to Iraq before the year's end. Another 6,000 Hawaii based Soldiers from Schofield Barracks are currently deployed to Iraq. They're scheduled to return in October.