In his June 25 letter, Ed Kenney stated that "the United States could not have duplicated the [Russian] feat of moving from Bosnia to Kosovo because the United States has no wheeled armored combat vehicles that could move rapidly over roads."
This is inaccurate. The U.S. Marine Corps (with a battalion in Kosovo) operates the light armored vehicle (LAV), an eight-wheeled, armored combat vehicle. This vehicle has been in service with the Marine Corps since the mid-'80s and serves many functions, including reconnaissance and troop transport. Currently, the Marines have more than 700 LAVs.
Mr. Kenney further stated, "The U.S. Army has a track mentality and has fashioned its forces for a heavy war in Europe despite the many missions in recent years that call for a wheeled armored vehicle."
While the U.S. Army has fashioned its forces for a heavy war in Europe, it also has restructured its combat troop transport units, allowing it to respond faster to conflicts outside Europe.
The U.S. Army continues to employ the tracked M2 and M3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles as its primary armored combat troop transport. It also uses armored personnel carriers in many other roles.
However, as a result of the renewed focus on chemical and biological weapons, the Army purchased in 1990 the six-wheeled, M93 Fox reconnaissance vehicle from Germany.
While it is clear the Russians use wheeled vehicles for rapid movement, they still operate a large number of tracked personnel carriers. Apparently, they also continue to rely on forces designed for heavy combat operations in Europe.
MICHAEL J. CRUTCHLEY