What Happened to the Hummer?

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  • Topic: Hummer, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, AM General
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  • Published : April 7, 2011
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What Happened To the Hummer?

Shawn Morris

Wright Career College

Mr. Burney

EN102 – English Composition

April 7, 2011

The HMMWV, pronounced Humvee, short for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, which went into preliminary design work in 1979, was intended as a mobile transport vehicle for American troops. (Burkeman, 2008) It gained popularity among civilians as support for the military grew. Versions of the Humvee, called the Hummer went into production for the general public in the early 1990s (AMGeneral.com). The Hummer’s reputation grew and sales increased to impressive proportions. New models have since been manufactured to entice more excitement and interest among private citizens. However, the Hummer’s fine reputation was harmed as the truth about its safety, gas mileage, and general environmental irresponsibility came to light.

In 1979, AMGeneral began preliminary design work on the M998 Series Humvee. The U.S. Army awarded AMGeneral a prototype contract in 1981 to produce a 1.25-ton truck intended to replace other light tactical vehicles currently in use. In 1983, the LTV Corporation bought AMGeneral from American Motors Corporation and established it as a wholly owned subsidiary of the LTV Aerospace and Defense Company. In 1984, the AMGeneral headquarters moved from the American Motors AMTEK Building to Livonia, Michigan, and two years later to South Bend, Indiana, where the primary manufacturing operations were located. On January 2, 1985, AMGeneral rolled the first HMMWV off the assembly line of their new South Bend facility. (AMGeneral.com)

Humvees are at present being used by the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy all over the world. The Humvee entered military missions in 1985. It was used mainly to get the soldiers from one point to another, to transport supplies, and to navigate in many off-road situations. The government poured money into the company, AMGeneral, to create the US military’s rugged, wide-bodied transport vehicles. (AMGeneral.com) The M998 HMMWV is the most commonly deployed tactical vehicle used by the Armed forces of the USA and its allies. It offered excellent off-road and cross-country mobility primarily for utility, logistical, and scout missions. (Internal Online Defence Magazine, 2005)

When the Humvee was new to the battleground it was fairly boxy, thinly covered, loud, and generally unsafe in the field. It had no armor, no on board weapons, nothing to protect the soldiers inside. It was a 1970’s workhorse with uncomfortable seats, canvas doors, and an engine that was so poorly insulated that riders tend to swelter. (Burkeman, 2008) I remember some things I would hear on the news like soldiers were trying to outfit the vehicle with their own hand made armor. I also heard that passengers in Humvees were often all killed by a road-side bomb because there was no armor on the vehicle. As the most popular tactical vehicle in its day, the M988 HUMMWV was used in many of the world’s armies. However, only a few troops were operating protected Hummers and the Israelis, US Army, and US Forces were not among these. It became clear during the conflict in Kosovo and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq that these soft, unprotected vehicles were highly vulnerable to any type of attack mines, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), firebombs, grenades, small arms or mortar fire, and especially Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). During the security and stability operations that followed operations Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF), a limited number of up-armored Hummers were available in field though prone to rollover. Still, as of May 2004, most vehicles remained unprotected. As a result the coalition forces had fallen prey to many types of attacks causing heavy casualties traveling in these soft-skinned trucks. They were even highly vulnerable to stone throwing and fire bombs. (Internal Online Defence...
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