Marine Corps News


By Sgt. Michael Niman

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (June 16) - Though the Marine Corps procured the Interim Fast Attack Vehicle as a replacement for the M-151 Jeep in the Fleet Marine Force, Quantico Marines are now getting their hands on one to evaluate it in a base support role.

Quantico's range control section will soon receive the Corps' newest tactical utility vehicle and become the first non-tactical unit in the Marine Corps to receive and evaluate the IFAV.

The vehicle is one of 62 the Marine Corps contracted for last year from Advanced Vehicle Systems, of Washington, D.C., who partnered with Daimler/Chrysler for rapid manufacture of the Mercedes-Benz 290 GDT long wheel-base vehicle.

Of the IFAVs produced by the Corps, 24 were given to II Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, NC., 24 to I MEF in Camp Pendleton, Calif., and 12 were given to III MEF in Okinawa, Japan. Marine Corps Systems Command retained the remaining two IFAVs for testing and configuration management.

MarCorSysCom Commanding General BGen. James Feigley is scheduled to hand over keys to one of the remaining IFAVs to BGen. Leif Hendrickson, base commanding general, 11:45 a.m. June 19 in front of Lejeune Hall.

"From discussions and meetings by MCCDC and MarCorSysCom senior officers, not unlike the way the Corps started in Tun Tavern, the idea came up that the commercial-based IFAV might have good utility in less tactical base support operations," said LtCol. Thomas F. Manley, Program Manager for Transportation, MarCorSysCom.

"The thinking behind it was, since it was designed as an aggressive off-road sport utility vehicle, it would probably better suited for some of the rougher terrains around base than the vehicles currently in use," said Manley.

"We use four-wheel-drive vehicles to aid personnel in training areas - but sometimes they get stuck," said Sgt. Gerald Spilatro, who is one of three range control Marines recently trained to operate the IFAV.

The range control Marines trained extensively for one week learning maintenance and practicing driving on hardball, unimproved gravel roads and rough off-road areas.

"With an IFAV in two-wheel drive, our instructor easily got through areas we frequently get our Dodge Rams stuck in," said Spilatro.

"When there is heavy rain, there are certain roads that we have to stay off, but with the IFAV we can go anywhere, if it is raining or not," he added.

It won't hold the M-19 40mm grenade launcher or the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, like some of its relatives in the FMF, but Spilatro believes the IFAV will prove to be a valuable asset to the Marine Corps in non-tactical roles just as in tactical missions.