108th Infantry patrolling in Samarra, Iraq
Members of the 108th Infantry patrolling in Samarra, Iraq. Their vehicle, a U.S. Army 5-ton truck, was armored by welding steel plates to the sides and cab.
Courtesy of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.

"Boots on the Ground"

When they were mobilized for duty in Iraq, New York National Guard units were poorly equipped for the type of warfare they would encounter. Many had unreliable Vietnam-era vehicles, and most were not equipped with the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicles.


In many cases, New York's citizen soldiers used their civilian skills to improve their equipment. A 108th platoon sergeant who was a welder in Utica, added protective steel plates to humvees and trucks and made armored boxes for the gun turrets on top of the vehicles. His employer shipped his welding equipment to him in Kuwait.

"As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Address to U.S. troops in Iraq,
December 8, 2004

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