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Staff Sgt. Antwane Mobley, 29, of Lancaster, S.C., walks ahead of a Humvee on a narrow mountain road near the Gowerdesh Brigde in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province in April 2008. A recent report by the Pentagon’s inspector general stated that the Army and Marine Corps have known its Humvees, like the one pictured, were "deathtraps," particularly when hit by roadside bombs or land mines, since the early 1990s.

Staff Sgt. Antwane Mobley, 29, of Lancaster, S.C., walks ahead of a Humvee on a narrow mountain road near the Gowerdesh Brigde in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province in April 2008. A recent report by the Pentagon’s inspector general stated that the Army and Marine Corps have known its Humvees, like the one pictured, were "deathtraps," particularly when hit by roadside bombs or land mines, since the early 1990s. (Drew Brown/S&S)

Army and Marine Corps officials knew nearly a decade before the invasion of Iraq that its workhorse Humvee vehicle was a "deathtrap" even with armor added to protect it against roadside bombs, USA Today reported Wednesday.

The Pentagon’s inspector general wrote that reports distributed throughout the Army and Marine Corps after the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the Somalia conflict in 1994 urged the development of armored vehicles to avoid the devastating effects of roadside bombs and land mines, but the Pentagon failed to act, according to USA Today.

The conclusions of the 1991 and 1994 reports were not included in the one-page summary of the inspector general’s findings released in December, the paper wrote, noting that the inspector general’s full report was later posted on a Web site by the Center for Public Integrity, a government watchdog group.

Troops added makeshift armor to their Humvees and the Pentagon rushed kits to retrofit the vehicles with better protections after the threat from roadside bombs escalated in 2003 and 2004, according to the report. Even so, retrofitted Humvees remained vulnerable to improvised explosive devices, because of the vehicle’s "flat bottom, low weight, low ground clearance and aluminum body," the inspector general found.

The report distributed throughout the Army and Marine Corps in 1994 found that a Humvee "even with a mine-protection retrofit kit developed for Somalia remained a deathtrap in the event of an anti-tank mine detonation," USA Today reported.


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