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Vehicles of Army Unit Fitted With Armor

From Associated Press

An Army supply unit whose members refused a dangerous fuel delivery mission last month in Iraq has now fitted its vehicles with armor to protect against attack, the military said Saturday.

Eighteen soldiers from the 343rd Quartermaster Company, a Reserve unit based in Rock Hill, S.C., refused to drive a fuel convoy last month from Tallil military base near Nasiriya to Taji, north of Baghdad, insisting that their vehicles were not properly outfitted and the fuel was contaminated.

The mission later was carried out by other troops in the unit, which has at least 120 soldiers, the military said. Their commander was later relieved. Senior officers denied that the fuel was contaminated.

In a statement Saturday, the military said the unit was still carrying out inspections, maintenance and training and had resumed limited operations.

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“Specifically, they are supporting convoy missions by providing gun truck escorts and crews as well as serving as vehicle commanders and crew members in the vehicles of sister units,” the statement said. “The 343rd expects to resume fuel delivery missions, with their own vehicles, in the near future.”

The statement said all the unit’s M931 Tractors and 5-ton gun trucks had been fitted with fabricated armor. In addition, all Humvees have factory add-on armor, the statement said.

Because of an ongoing investigation, the command declined to comment on possible punishment for soldiers who refused the supply mission.


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