Re: [MV] Vehicle Security

Robert D. Brooke (
Fri, 01 Oct 1999 11:06:25 -0700

I am not a combat veteran, but I spent over 33 years, combination of
active and reserve, in the US Army. I would leave it to those who served
in combat in the Army or in other services to correct me if they do not
agree with the following. Also, the following may be very elementary to
those of you who are quite experienced in the subject of mil-veh. But in
this thread, I have not seen (or missed it)a discussion on why mil-veh
were designed and made without keys.

The reason was that in combat, you do not ever want to be denied the use
of any vehicle. If it is there, in workable condition, and there is a
military need for it, it needs to be available for that need,
immediately. If it is locked, it is not available, unless the keys are
also available.

One can think of a hundred reasons why the keys would not be available:
lost, driver dead or wounded or captured or deserted or on a "quick"
errand, at sick call, at mess, goofing off, etc., etc.

The military runs on disipline, which often breaks down. So if it works
right, the sergeant tells PFC Smith, a member of his unit, to take Jones
and vehicle B-9 and go back to the supply point and pick up X, and
return ASAP.

The sergeant picks Smith because he thinks him to be dependable and
conscientious. The two soldiers go back, do their mission (Jones stays
with the vehicle while Smith is dealing with the supply point personnel)
and all goes well.

It was rare, in my opinion, especially near the front, that vehicles
were stolen for joy rides, and even more rare for them to be stolen by a
unit, unit markings repainted, and the vehicle absorbed into the
stealing unit's inventory. If caught, that motor pool sergeant faced a
General Court Martial and the unit commander's career was finished, or
at best, tarnished, even if he "did not know what was going on".

Every unit has an SOP on vehicle use, designated drivers, when and when
not to use chain and padlock to secure unit vehicles, threat and
engagement conditions, etc. When threatcons were high, physical security
measures and SOP's changed by design and practice.

I believe all that worked reasonably well when the enemy was near. In
the rear areas, when soldiers had time off, and beer and those friendly
French or Italian girls were only 15 clicks away, vehicles not watched
or chained were used for non official uses. But if caught, those
soldiers paid a price, because in disiplined outfits, a unit must know
where its assets were at all times, and commanders frowned on not being
able to move out sharply, if needed.

Since this deals with vehicles, their design and use, I believe this
thread to be 100% on topic.

Bob Brooke

Glenn Goodman wrote:
> I've been reading the posts on security with interest. This is something I have thought deeply on for quite some time. :-> Here we are, a group of people all over the world, trying to preserve some of our history. Interestingly enough, the history of man's inhumanity to man. War can bring out the worst and the best in us. But back to my train of thought. You would not associate war with trust. That's one of the reasons we have wars, lack of trust for our neighbor. Isn't it ironic that the vehicles we love and adore force us to trust in the basic goodness of mankind. I mean, they are typically open vehicles with virtually no safeguards or security. In fact, it seems to me, more time and effort was spent trying to safeguard the vehicles from one's own countrymen than anyone else. I have done what I can to protect my jeep, and will implement more options as I find out more ways to protect it. And about all I can do is protect it from driving off, I have nothing to keep
> people from taking things out of it, so I keep nothing in it. Basically, I am forced to trust other people's goodness. Not an easy thing for me.
> Sorry to those that feel this may be off topic. I would agree to say it is pushing it a bit, but it has always struck me a little odd and wondered if others had ever felt this way. I would be interested to know if I am not alone here. If you have any comments, please respond off list so I don't get in trouble. Thanks.
> Glenn
> '53 M38A1
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