by Richard Fleming, HHT 1965/66
From the MacKenzie’s Raiders News, March 31, 1965
There is a new track in the motor pool and she is causing quite a stir. Not very beautiful, in fact, the high back looks awkward and out of place. Her beauty isn’t what is bringing on all the raves; it’s all the space inside. Remember your bruised skull from banging it against the roof of an M-113, well, for Sqdn. HQ personnel those days are gone.
The XM-577, a modified M-113, has arrived. Five of the new light tracked Command Post vehicles are now squatting in the motor pool while their crews pour over them, reading the manuals and stowing away all the new gear, and marveling over all the room. The enlarged working space measures 6 feet from floor to ceiling which will allow most personnel to stand upright in the vehicle. Down both sides of the interior are work benches with overhead shelves for radios and other gear. Two long metal seats unfold beneath the work benches for even more storage space. Loose rifles are no longer a problem, there is a built-in rifle rack over the back door.
The first XM-577, HQ-21 (Commo) arrived back in January. Sp4 Arthur Bruce took it to the field three days after it arrived. Now Sp4 Bruce is training Pvt. Ryeben Hunter as driver. The track “has more room for commo and a better place to work. There are benches to put the radios on while you are working on them,” Sp4 Bruce stated. “This baby was in that mud at Diamond Head and we had a clean place to work. And, with the generator on top of the PC, out of the mud, it was down-right heaven,” he concluded.
SP4 Carlos Inman, working on HQ-8 (S-1) grinned: “Room! And, you don’t have to cart a generator around. It’s right on top with a five gallon gas tank. No more filling the thing in the middle of the night.”
HQ-30 and 31 (S-3) presented a turmoil of heaped equipment as Sgt. L.B. Baxter and Pvt. Richard Fleming were methodically stowing away gear. “It has everything but hot and cold running water.” Pfc. Ben Webster, S-3 Sect., whose boots protruded from under the engine compartment, called out: “It’s about the same as the 113 for repairs. I like all that room.”
The S-2 crew was busy pouring over the new manuals.
In the medical section, the medics are pleased. “It will make us more flexible. The roominess is ideal for the medical team,” voiced Sp6 William Snow. Capt. Spencer King, M.O., was pleased with the new track. “Equipment will be right at hand. Under fire we will have our facilities already set up.” When asked about surgery in the new PC, Capt. King answered that the track was, naturally, not prepared for major surgery, but for emergency work would fill the bill.
W.O. George Jones, Sqdn. Maint. Officer, explained that there was a problem with the track. “Because of its height, they are unstable at high speeds; in excess of 20 MPH they have a tendency to rock back and forth. But, then, they aren’t driven that fast except under extreme conditions.”
Anyway you look at it, the new tracks are in, and in the hearts and hands of the men who drive and work in them.
Or, maybe, it’s just as one Speedy-Four put it: “Sure I like it. No .50 caliber to clean!”