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One if by land, two if by sea. (SLYT)
August 30, 2011 10:48 AM   Subscribe

National Guard troops in Manville, NJ, discover their Light Medium Tactical Vehicles can't drive underwater.
posted by Fister Roboto (98 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Many oxen died to bring us this video.
posted by griphus at 10:53 AM on August 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Never call people with guns "stupid"
posted by KokuRyu at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel bad for what appears to be a civilian or journalist in the last truck with a fancy DSLR and awesome lens.
posted by odinsdream at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm impressed it managed to drive as far as it did, tbh. Problem must have been exhaust/oxygen.
posted by empath at 10:57 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


USA, USA, USA, usa, usa, u s a, u...s.....a......u......g u r gle...
posted by Thorzdad at 10:58 AM on August 30, 2011 [39 favorites]


I had heard interviews today with residents of flooded NJ areas. Many of them said that this was the final flood, insult, and that after all the floods that they had experienced lately they wanted to move elsewhere. But of course their homes even in a decent housing economy are probably worth much less given the flood prone area(s) they are in.
posted by Postroad at 10:59 AM on August 30, 2011


I watched this last night and still can't figure out how they (thought they) could see where they were going.
posted by DU at 10:59 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I did not see any sign that they had any sort of snorkle system in-place in order to elevate both air intake and exhaust above the water line. Shit was doomed to fail.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:01 AM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


The power of Christ impels you.
The power of Christ impels you.
The POWER of CHRIST impels you!
posted by Babblesort at 11:02 AM on August 30, 2011


Those things are designed to ford through water deeper than the cab is tall - as long as the snorkel is above water (the air intake - what the guy identifies as an exhaust in the video), they can keep the engine running.

By fording, I mean crossing a body of water to reach the other side. You know it's straight ahead, a couple dozen feet. Put the hammer down and go.

This isn't fording. This is driving underwater. Eventually, your truck is gonna float, your tires are going to lose grip, and your cab is gonna flood, and you can't see shit anyway. That's the part that amazed me - they were essentially driving blind for a block or two.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:02 AM on August 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Guys, our tactical military industrial complex is adapted to rooting out terrorists and shit. Terrorists don't live where things flood. They live in the sand. In the desert. Everyone knows it don't rain in the desert. How were these poor Guardsmen supposed to handle this situation without proper re-training?
posted by spicynuts at 11:03 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, it looked like they were doing pretty good for a while there. I bet they must have run over a socialist or something. You know capitalist engines breakdown when socialism gets involved.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:09 AM on August 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


Any insight into how much those two trucks cost?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:09 AM on August 30, 2011


I was in the military for six years and saw people in the military do the stupidest shit you can imagine, but this is pretty special.
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:11 AM on August 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


I don't understand why nobody brought a boat. Boats were made for this.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:12 AM on August 30, 2011 [44 favorites]


Any insight into how much those two trucks cost?

No, but I imagine it's a number that involves yelling and putting your pinky in front of your lips.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:13 AM on August 30, 2011 [6 favorites]




I guess they thought that it would be easy enough: just a quick jaunt across a river. Accomplish their mission, and then have a nice story to tell their family when they got back home. Unfortunately you can only see the surface of a murky torrent of flood water, so they misjudged how deep they would be getting themselves in. By the time it was obvious that it was a bad idea, they were too late to turn around, so they might as well commit to the catastrophe in the vague hopes of getting some positive outcome. In the end everyone ended up bailing, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, and the opportunity cost that it would take to fix their mess, plus the time and money wasted when they could've been doing something useful somewhere else.

In other words they're just playing by the Defense Department's handbook for the past 10 years or so. Can't blame them, really.
posted by codacorolla at 11:14 AM on August 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


Any insight into how much those two trucks cost?

A few service techs get to practice on waterlogged trucks.

After the extraction.

A decent, if unexpected, training exercise.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:14 AM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pfff, these trucks are shit, Paul Ryan always travels like this.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:15 AM on August 30, 2011


That's why you need to look up from the GPS every now and again.
posted by ghharr at 11:16 AM on August 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


A decent, if unexpected, training exercise.

see, look at the bright side, it is a learning experience.
posted by clavdivs at 11:17 AM on August 30, 2011


Any insight into how much those two trucks cost?

It runs into a lot of money.
posted by hal9k at 11:18 AM on August 30, 2011


...saw people in the military do the stupidest shit you can imagine...

Go on.
posted by griphus at 11:19 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really got annoyed with the camera guy calling them "stupid". Is it true what one YT commenter wrote? "...they were caught when a levee broke and flooded them. Might as well try and use the means you have to get out of the situation until you get help."
posted by not_on_display at 11:20 AM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


odd, seems this variant would have a telescoping snorkle. But I'm guessing that wasn't the problem.

"It's a truck, not a submarine"

or the youtube/ videotapping fuckwad might say

"who is the commander of that U-boot"
posted by clavdivs at 11:20 AM on August 30, 2011


If I was driving a truck like that, and it wasn't my truck (in that I didn't actually pay for it with my money and wouldn't be on the financial hook for replacement or repair), and I was in that situation, there is a 0% chance I would do anything other than exactly what they did. Because: fuck it. Worth a shot.

Note that this is why I should not be in the military, and why nobody should let me house-sit for them.
posted by penduluum at 11:21 AM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dunk driving
posted by hal9k at 11:21 AM on August 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I had a couple of roommates who were in the National Guard, and I observed that a significant portion of their on-duty time consisted of Dicking Around With Expensive Taxpayer-Funded Equipment. This doesn't surprise me at all. You just know somewhere some guy with access to the motor pool was thinking, "Cool! Let's see if they'll drive UNDERWATER!"
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:22 AM on August 30, 2011


Fister Roboto, I don't know if you intended it this way, but the way the link is coded, the video begins 2 minutes and 49 seconds in, once the trucks are almost entirely submerged. I refreshed twice before I realized, thinking that perhaps the trucks had been caught unawares on a road when a massive flood came through.

This link starts the video from the beginning.
posted by zarq at 11:25 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


[...] they were caught when a levee broke and flooded them. Might as well try and use the means you have to get out of the situation until you get help."

Maybe this is true. Even if so, the person filming is standing on an overpass of some kind. Which is dry. It's hard to work out the exact topography but it seems likely that they had a chance to drive somewhere at least nominally higher and less wet. And they probably should have done that.
posted by penduluum at 11:27 AM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Did you get the new trucks? Are they amphibious? Well, there's only one way to find out!"
posted by Flunkie at 11:27 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Worst Duck tour ever.
posted by brevator at 11:28 AM on August 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


Guys, our tactical military industrial complex is adapted to rooting out terrorists and shit. Terrorists don't live where things flood.

That's just what they want you to think.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:29 AM on August 30, 2011


Yeah, it looks like I screwed up the link. My bad! Mods to the rescue?
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:29 AM on August 30, 2011


I did not see any sign that they had any sort of snorkle system in-place in order to elevate both air intake and exhaust above the water line. Shit was doomed to fail.

If you start the video at the beginning, you can see the intake snorkle behind the cab.

They were pushing the limit of what the truck could handle though - it was only a couple inches above the water.

Water ingestion into an engine isn't the worst thing in the world. We used to race snowmobile across patches of open water, and they'd occasionally sink, too. I wouldn't expect repairs would be that costly.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:32 AM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is pretty obvious we need to dump a couple hundred million into making these trucks submersible.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:33 AM on August 30, 2011


Meanwhile in Maryland...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:34 AM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Terrorists don't live where things flood.

You must be one of those people that doesn't class abortion clinic bombers with terrorists.
posted by DU at 11:35 AM on August 30, 2011


You must be one of those people that doesn't class abortion clinic bombers with terrorists.

You might want to recalibrate your sarcasmometer.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:37 AM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Congratulations DU on getting the joke.
posted by spicynuts at 11:38 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even if so, the person filming is standing on an overpass of some kind. Which is dry.

It's a rail bed. Not sure if it's usable for truck traffic, and getting up to it would be a trick.
posted by smackfu at 11:40 AM on August 30, 2011


Um, how were the people breathing? Does military A/C work better than in my minivan or something?
posted by artychoke at 11:41 AM on August 30, 2011


Looks like they got in over their heads. (rimshot)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:50 AM on August 30, 2011


Fister Roboto: "Yeah, it looks like I screwed up the link. My bad! Mods to the rescue?"

No biggie. Oh, and congrats on your first post! :)
posted by zarq at 11:51 AM on August 30, 2011


Does military A/C work better than in my minivan or something?
Basically the answer is: yes. Those things often are built to go through water that deep for a few meters, so there's usually a snorkel.
posted by dominik at 11:51 AM on August 30, 2011


Hey, Mary Sue, what do you say we ditch this sock hop and watch the submarine races?
posted by kimota at 11:51 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile in Maryland...

Hey, That lady in Santa Cruz moved to Maryland!
posted by dirigibleman at 11:54 AM on August 30, 2011


Related: The Top Gear Amphibious Car Boat Challenge
posted by zarq at 11:56 AM on August 30, 2011


Hey guys in the video, you owe U.S. taxpayers about half a million bucks. Tell your boss.
posted by swift at 11:56 AM on August 30, 2011


Light Medium Tactical Vehicles

Those are the ones that are bigger than the Heavy Light Tactical Vehicles, but smaller than the Medium Medium Tactical Vehicles, right?
posted by eriko at 11:57 AM on August 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's kind of hard for me to see on my tiny screen, but is that a third one farther down the road after they go under the bridge?

If it is, it might explain why they thought they could make it.
posted by madajb at 11:58 AM on August 30, 2011


It is pretty obvious we need to dump a couple hundred million into making these trucks submersible.

They look pretty submersible to me. They just don't do a whole lot when submerged.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:00 PM on August 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Those are the ones that are bigger than the Heavy Light Tactical Vehicles, but smaller than the Medium Medium Tactical Vehicles, right?

They are actually larger than the other Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, but the name can't change without an act of Congress.
posted by swift at 12:01 PM on August 30, 2011


Those are the ones that are bigger than the Heavy Light Tactical Vehicles, but smaller than the Medium Medium Tactical Vehicles, right?

I'll take a Heavy Heavy, animal style.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:01 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the way the video started, it looked like they were on higher land and decided to try and ford though the flooding. There's a lot of flooding, so I don't quite know where they thought they were going.

On the plus side, I now feel confident that I could make a difference in the National Guard.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:01 PM on August 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Shouldn't the photographer offer to call them a tow truck?
posted by Jode at 12:02 PM on August 30, 2011


I tell you what, the Navy wouldn't have made this kind of mistake.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:02 PM on August 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Did you get the new trucks? Are they amphibious? Well, there's only one way to find out!"

Seeing stuff like this makes me wonder if these soldiers actually trained with this piece of equipment in this particular type of environment. Because this, to me, looks exactly what happens when someone is told that hardware is capable of something (It's amphibious!), but not ever shown the limitations (don't drive underwater for several blocks, because it's not that amphibious!)

It's a really good thing that people weren't shooting at them when they made the realization about this hardware limitation.
posted by quin at 12:04 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


...a significant portion of their on-duty time consisted of Dicking Around With Expensive Taxpayer-Funded Equipment.

I am reminded of Chuck Yeager's attempt to fly an F-105 into space.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:11 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The good news is that the shark-repelling hubcaps worked like a charm.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:11 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I dunno, all the military guys I've interacted with over the past couple of years would have parked the truck at the edge of the flood and taken a nap until the waters receded.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:11 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or an F-104, even.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:12 PM on August 30, 2011


Looks like one of those costs approximately $252,449 [.pdf]
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:12 PM on August 30, 2011



Seeing stuff like this makes me wonder if these soldiers actually trained with this piece of equipment in this particular type of environment. Because this, to me, looks exactly what happens when someone is told that hardware is capable of something (It's amphibious!), but not ever shown the limitations (don't drive underwater for several blocks, because it's not that amphibious!)


If you look another couple hundred feet down the road, the water is lower. Looks like they made it about 2/3 of the way. I bet if the water had been a foot lower at that point they would have made it through.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:15 PM on August 30, 2011


It looks like this is the intersection that this happened in. I'm pretty sure that I've driven there, my sister lives pretty close.
posted by octothorpe at 12:16 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Impressive. They almost made it through a few blocks of water to the top of the windshield. Still a foolish thing to try.
posted by caddis at 12:18 PM on August 30, 2011


Did you see how they blew through that traffic light? Jerks!
posted by mazola at 12:23 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nobody canna cross it,
Di truck can't swim.


Also reminds me of a Russian joke: "when you're in the army, there can be only two mistakes: carrying out a nuclear strike on your own troops and fording the river lengthwise."
posted by egor83 at 12:25 PM on August 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


A) How did they have ANY idea of where they were going?
B) How were the people in the back of the truck able to breathe?
posted by antifuse at 12:31 PM on August 30, 2011


How were the people in the back of the truck able to breathe?

yeah, I get the cab might be semi-sealed, but the back looked open, so the drivers seemed to show a pretty cavalier disregard for the safety of those they were transporting, unless there's some built in scuba system back there.
posted by nomisxid at 12:36 PM on August 30, 2011


I am reminded of Chuck Yeager's attempt to fly an F-10[4] into space .

Well, you know the NF-104 was specifically built for that mission.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:36 PM on August 30, 2011


I am in mud
Driv'd in so far, that, should I drive no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:38 PM on August 30, 2011


They thought they could make it using the fording capability of the vehicles. You'd be surprised how much they can go through. However it was just too far.

The idea is that while they are advancing, they will not be forced to seize a bridge over a river. They can just drive through the river.

See here.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2011


Or an F-104, even.

104, 105 - whatever it takes.
posted by mikepop at 12:50 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Destination: Manville.
posted by xod at 12:53 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me tell you about the FV1801, or the Austin Champ, if you're playing along at home. A jeep style light truck, it came with a 2.8L Rolls Royce engine, and a five speed gearbox in forward and reverse. It could drive underwater for so long, it came with a steering wheel extension so you could drive it standing up.
posted by zamboni at 12:57 PM on August 30, 2011


I tell you what, the Navy wouldn't have made this kind of mistake.

No, never. Best quote: "Clearly, the ship is not where the ship should have been."
posted by jquinby at 12:58 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


...a significant portion of their on-duty time consisted of Dicking Around With Expensive Taxpayer-Funded Equipment.

Reminded of a time when I was lifeguarding, and someone mentioned that the Scott Air Packs we had in the chemical room supposedly worked underwater. A mad dash ensued. The guy who got there first grabbed the Air Pack, threw it on, and went in the pool. Completely ruined it. The guy who got there second later described his story to our bosses as "I ran after him to stop him."

Good times, good times...

posted by Capt. Renault at 1:03 PM on August 30, 2011


I guess they thought they were driving Ford trucks.
posted by QIbHom at 1:09 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


hal9k: "Any insight into how much those two trucks cost?

It runs into a lot of money.
"

After it runs into a river.
posted by Splunge at 1:18 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Navy used to call their ships "foxholes in the sea" but the Army said that nobody ever drowned in an Army foxhole that sank to the bottom of the ocean.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:30 PM on August 30, 2011


". . . the Scott Air Packs we had in the chemical room supposedly worked underwater."

posted by Capt. Renault at 3:03 PM on August 30

Which they will. For about three breaths or so. SCBA is missing that tiny but ever so important "U" for Underwater. There's more than one firefighter who while doing a 360° sizing up a residential structure fire has, in the dark and the smoke, discovered an in ground swimming pool in the back yard. The hard way.

Regarding the truck video, the wake backwash from going under the bridge probably swamped the snorkel intakes behind the cab bringing their little adventure to a close. If they'd made it they'd have been local heroes. Instead they're in for the mother of all ass chewings from a righteously pissed first sergeant!
posted by Standeck at 1:49 PM on August 30, 2011


eriko: " Light Medium Tactical Vehicles

Those are the ones that are bigger than the Heavy Light Tactical Vehicles, but smaller than the Medium Medium Tactical Vehicles, right?
"

You know, I thought the same thing, There's no way that's the right name. So I looked it up. I was wrong. The geniuses at the Pentagon actually named it that.

For those playing along at home, the difference between the Light Medium and the Medium is the cargo capacity. Light Mediums can carry 2½ tons and are air-droppable. Mediums can carry 5 tons. These trucks were purchased to replace obsolete and maintenance intensive M35 'Deuce and a Half' and M939 5 Ton trucks.

My back-of-the-envelope estimate, given that an order for 2,634 trucks and 404 trailers cost $410M, is that the trucks cost something like $150,000 each. The drivers probably make less than $100 per week for their service in the National Guard.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:03 PM on August 30, 2011


I want those idiot drivers in my platoon when sarge stands at the foot of a hill, points at one of them and says "take the point"
posted by klarck at 2:05 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


LANCE
"Camouflage."

CHIEF
"How's that ?

LANCE
"So they can't see me, they're everywhere Chief."
posted by clavdivs at 2:07 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lance was right.
posted by mikelieman at 3:27 PM on August 30, 2011


Never call people with guns "stupid"

Democracy doesn't just give you the right to call anyone stupid. It's premised on the idea that everyone is stupid, stupid enough that no one can be trusted with unchecked power.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:30 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


My Unimog never had that problem. I frequently had to tow or push H1s, Jeeps and other vehicles out of the water in New Orleans during the spring floods.
posted by autopilot at 4:54 PM on August 30, 2011


My Unimog never had that problem

Your Unimog was designed for the turnip harvest. The fact that it's an awesome off-road military vehicle is just gravy. Or borscht. Or whatever it is Germans make from turnips.
posted by zippy at 5:40 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, you know the NF-104 was specifically built for that mission.

Now I do. Thanks.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:45 PM on August 30, 2011


Our tax dollars at work.
posted by bardic at 8:09 PM on August 30, 2011


Being that this is an election year, the only thing missing is the generic candidate joining in a 'real operation' thinking he could preen for the press. THAT would make the hilarity of this fiasco really worth the cost to the taxpayers.
posted by Surfurrus at 8:49 PM on August 30, 2011


I tell you what, the Navy wouldn't have made this kind of mistake.

Speaking of 'preening with the military machinery' ... this story (Navy) is a not-at-all funny 'mistake'.
posted by Surfurrus at 8:54 PM on August 30, 2011


As an arrogant New Yorker, I refuse to believe anywhere got that much water. We didn't even lose power.

C'mon, New Jersey, get it together.
posted by Eideteker at 10:56 PM on August 30, 2011


Some of us went up to visit the Russian airborne unit while we were in Bosnia. Hilarious bunch. We're out there looking at their BMDs, a marvelous little armored personnel carrier. Air-droppable, has a mortar and direct-fire cannon. I notice on the back this little cage with a very flat wooden yo-yo in it. When I asked them what it was, one said "Oh, that's for when it sinks, the yo-yo floats up and we know where to find it!"
posted by atchafalaya at 11:01 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Photo #8 is the view out the back of one of the trucks taken by the Star Ledger photographer who can be seen climbing out the back to safety in the video.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:28 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, I saw the shots of the dogs being moved from the animal shelter and thought "Crap, I hope those dogs weren't in the back of the truck!
posted by antifuse at 9:37 AM on September 1, 2011


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