Wednesday, May 20, 2015

State Of Colorado Opts Out of Jade Helm Exercises But the Government Has Other Plans


""Nearly 650 vehicles will roll south from Colorado Springs next week in the biggest Army convoy seen in the Pikes Peak region in decades.

By some accounts, it's the largest road convoy in Colorado since World War II. It will take more than 4,000 soldiers and more than 300 Stryker armored vehicles and other rigs from Fort Carson's 1st Brigade Combat Team to its Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site east of Trinidad for combat training.

But the road trip, which runs May 26-30, has its own reward.

"The move to Piñon Canyon is itself a training event," said Col. David Hodne, the brigade's commander.

Hodne's brigade has been training for more than a year with the Strykers, which replaced a contingent of vehicles including 72-ton M-1 tanks. A big part of the Stryker's battlefield appeal is its ability to move quickly across vast distances, allowing commanders to reinforce a weakened line or exploit an enemy shortcoming in hours.

To do that, soldiers must learn the road.

Brigade planners have labored for eight months to draw up convoy plans and work with local authorities along the route to blunt the impact on commuters. Officials in the counties along the route have offered to ease the way for the Army rigs and usher them through areas that might become congested.

ON THE ROAD

Hundreds of Fort Carson vehicles will hit the road starting May 26 in a massive convoy for a training exercise at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site.

The rigs will be on southern Colorado roads through May 30. Exact routes haven't been released.

Here are roads that could be impacted:

Interstate 25 south of Colorado Springs.

Highway 115 from Fort Carson to Highway 50.

Highway 50 through Pueblo County.

Highways 160 and 350 east of Trinidad.

"It could pose some unique challenges," said Maj. Curtis Yankie, a transportation officer with the post's 4th Infantry Division.

Long road convoys are commonplace at some Army posts, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, where Stryker troops regularly hit the highway for a 150-mile drive to a training area near Yakima.

At Fort Carson, though, most Piñon Canyon training has involved tanks and M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles - tracked rigs that aren't designed for freeway driving. Those heavier vehicles have been hauled to the training area by train.

Strykers, though, are built for pavement. The eight-wheeled rigs have four-wheel steering and behave like heavily armored motor homes on the open road. The Strykers weigh in at an interstate-friendly 18 tons, about half of a loaded 18-wheeler.

That's why the Army bought its first Strykers in 1999 - the lighter rigs can be quickly flown or driven to war.""
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