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A Bradley armored fighting vehicle with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, sits on a Najaf street Thursday morning.

A Bradley armored fighting vehicle with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, sits on a Najaf street Thursday morning. (Jason Chudy / S&S)

NAJAF, Iraq — A tough fight with a close-in enemy requires an even tougher vehicle.

Some soldiers attached to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, think that they’ve got the perfect piece for the fight in Najaf’s narrow, rubble-strewn streets.

They swear that the Bradley armored fighting vehicle is just what’s called for here.

“For this type of fighting, it’s even better than tanks,” said Staff Sgt. Demetrio Young, 29, of Marina, Calif.

“Tanks can withstand more hits, but I’d rather be in a Bradley because it can move a lot faster,” he said.

American troops have been fighting in Najaf and some of the surrounding areas for the past three weeks.

The Bradley carries a rapid-fire 25 mm gun and a .50-caliber machine gun and runs on tracks like a tank. Tanks have more armor, are much larger than a Bradley and carry a 120 mm main gun.

“With the 25 [mm], it’s a lot better because it causes less damage than a tank round,” said Sgt 1st Class Reginald Parham.

Causing less damage to a building is important because the Bradley also carries a half-dozen soldiers in the back.

“Most of the time the dismounts [soldiers] get out of the track and clear what we just shot,” said Parham, who’s worked on Bradleys for eight years.

In Najaf, the fighting distance between armor and enemy can sometimes be measured in feet, with the enemy popping out of alleys or on rooftops, firing and disappearing. Attacks come quickly and on many occasions the enemy fires first, meaning the vehicle needs to take some hits.

“In the Bradley, we can take four or five rocket-propelled grenade rounds before anything happens to the vehicle,” said Parham after an early Tuesday morning mission.

“Whatever street we go down here, we make contact,” said Bradley driver Spc. Brandon Osborne, 23, of Quincy, Ill. “They’re everywhere.”

Osborne said that on this last mission they flushed out 12 enemy fighters, firing on them to protect both their vehicle and their dismounted soldiers.

Later that afternoon, Osborne’s Bradley survived a frontal hit from an RPG. Other than chunks dug out of its steel, there was no damage to the vehicle and no injuries to its crew, who were a few feet from the impact but on the other side of the steel.


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