1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

 

1-22 Infantry Bradley Fighting Vehicle at National Infantry Museum

 

 

The M-2 A2 Bradley, or "Bravo 1-4" to the 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt., 4th Inf. Div., during its deployment to Iraq in 2003,
was damaged when it hit an anti-tank mine. It was refurbished and brought to the National Infantry Museum in June 2007.
It is a part of "The Last 100 Yards" exhibit.

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army
Photo credit Kristin Molinaro, The Bayonet

 

Bradley's combat history part of museum
Jul 17, 2009

By Kristin Molinaro, The Bayonet



The refurbished remains of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle are all that remains of SGT James E. Powell's sacrifice one October morning in 2003.

A new coat of paint and a large metal plate disguise the damage from an anti-tank mine that blasted through the underbelly of the Bradley,
sending its engine soaring into the air, killing the driver and wounding Soldiers inside.

Six years later, a journey that began with a combat patrol along the outskirts of Bayjii, Iraq, ended at the National Infantry Museum
as the Bradley that carried Powell and other 1st Battalion Soldiers into combat operations found a permanent home
inside the museum's signature exhibit, "The Last 100 Yards."

"I hadn't seen this Bradley since November 2003," said LTC(R) Steve Russell, the former commander of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment,
4th Infantry Division, who now serves as a senator in Oklahoma and chairman of Vets for Victory. "It's pretty moving to know
one of our Bradleys used in battle overseas is here."

In Russell's soon-to-be-published book about the hunt and capture of Saddam Hussein, a chapter titled, As Long As We Have Breath,
details the final days of the Bradley, known as "Bravo 1-4," and the Soldiers of B Company.

"Rifle companies were patrolling in Bradley's and conducting bomb sweeps along the main routes.
Foot patrols had been reduced to almost nothing," he wrote.

B Company, attached to the division's 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, patrolled an area north of Tikrit, Iraq,
along the outskirts of Bayjii known to Soldiers as "The Projects," Russell said.

In the book, Russell recalled that the Soldiers weren't welcome in the neighborhood.
On Oct. 3, 2003, a squad of Soldiers in two Bradleys rumbled toward the town early in the morning and noticed an absence of people, he said.

As the convoy moved closer to town, an anti-tank mine blasted through the Bradley, leaving a spray of engine parts and road wheels along the ground,
Russell said. "Bravo 1-4 lay like a snake, gutted and broken," he said.

As Soldiers evacuated the disabled vehicle and established a perimeter, they discovered the blast killed Powell,
wounded other Soldiers and left a 4-foot gaping hole in the Bradley's bottom, Russell said.

Powell, from Mark Center, Ohio, was days away from completing his enlistment and returning home to his family.
But instead of being greeted with "Welcome Home" banners and hugs from his wife and 2-year-old daughter,
he returned with an Honor Guard escort and a flag flown half-staff in his honor.

An M-88 recovery vehicle picked up the Bradley to tow back to camp, Russell said.
The Bradley caught fire but the crew continued to tow it to the battalion's combat outpost,
even as ammunition within the Bradley began to "cook off," he said.

"Since (the Bradley) was armored, it caused no harm to those outside of it but the vehicle (was) a total mess," he said.

SGT James E. Powell

 

On Oct. 15, the Soldiers gathered around the burned-out Bradley
for a memorial service to honor Powell and another Soldier,
SPC Donald L. Wheeler Jr., who was also killed in combat.

 

SPC Donald Wheeler

In early November, the burned-out shell of the Bradley was shipped back to the states, Russell said.

Russell, certified as an Army historian, attempted to secure a vehicle as an artifact, but said his request was denied.

After the unit redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas, Russell found out a vehicle request was approved. Russell assembled a team
to pick it up from Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, and transported it to Fort Hood.

It was an emotional moment, Russell said.

"We had requested a Bradley to preserve the memory of our Soldiers, but I hadn't expected to ever see one we actually fought in again," he said.

Thanks to many agencies, the Bradley found a home at the National Infantry Museum, Russell said.

 

The interior of Bravo 1-4 as seen a few days after the blast which killed SPC James Powell
and wounded SPC Leonard Johnson.

Photo from the Fort Hood Sentinel July 23, 2009

 

 

National Infantry Museum

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

Russell got his first look at Bravo 1-4's improved appearance after the museum opened last month.

"I'm grateful the museum kept the company's bumper numbers on the Bradley and put combat loads on it the way it was used in battle,"
he said when he visited the museum to coordinate a future memorial to the 22nd Inf. Regt.
"I was very concerned that they keep a semblance of history with it."

Russell said the Bradley gives him and other members of the regiment a connection to the Soldiers who served and died with them,
such as Powell and Wheeler.

"We mourn their loss; we honor their sacrifice. As long as 'Regulars' draw breath, we shall not forget them,"
Russell said at a memorial service in 2003 for Powell and Wheeler.

Editor's note: All information and copyrighted excerpts were reprinted with the permission of LTC(R) Steve Russell.

 

 

Bravo 1-4 on display at the National Infantry Museum

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

 

 

The following was posted by DocBach [Team Member] on the AR15.com website

8/1/2010 7:02:44 AM EST

I had the chance to visit the National Infantry museum when I came home from Iraq after seeing all the commercials for it on AFN -
turns out, the Bradley fighting vehicle at the end of The Last 100 Yards was the one my cousin drove when he first got to Iraq
with B Co 1-22 INF in 2003 - the original driver, SPC James Powell, was set to go home so they were keeping him off mission
but because of manpower shortages the platoon needed him to drive one last mission. As his replacement, my cousin was assigned
to drive B-14, but SPC Powell booted my cousin from his old track and drove B14 one last time - my cousin ended up driving
the Bradley next in the order of march him.... SPC James Powell drove over an anti-tank mine that night and was KIA
They ended up rebuilding B-14, and now it serves as the representation of the US Army Infantryman in Iraq
at the National Infantry Museum.

 

Bravo 1-4 on display at the National Infantry Museum

Photo from the AR15.com website

 

 

 

Bravo 1-4 on display at the National Infantry Museum

Photo from the AR15.com website

 

 

 

Bravo 1-4 on display at the National Infantry Museum

Photo from the AR15.com website

 

 

 

The interior of Bravo One Four as it sits on display.

Photo by John Tomawski

 

 

Bravo 1-4 on display at the National Infantry Museum

Photo from the GUNSAMERICA website

 

 

**********************

 

To view an article about a former member of 1-22 Infantry who rode in Bravo 1-4
and visited its display in the Museum click on the following link:

Ledger-Enquirer website

 

**********************

 

 

 


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