The Army National Guard in at least five states is contributing to the 200 M113 armored personnel carriers the U.S. is sending Ukraine.
On Friday, the governors of Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia announced that, at the Defense Department’s request, they’re turning over “an undisclosed number” of M113s from their inventories.
The M113 can move troops and equipment across battlefields while providing protection from small-arms fire and artillery effects.
The Army adopted the vehicle in 1960, and it was a workhorse in Vietnam. In the 1980s, the faster and more powerful M2 Bradley fighting vehicle replaced the M113 in a front-line transport role, moving it to rear-area roles. The Army stopped buying M113s in 2006.
Nevertheless, large numbers are still used in support roles as mortar carriers, engineer vehicles, command vehicles and battlefield ambulances.
Missouri Guard officials said their contribution came from the 35th Engineer Brigade.
After the Indiana National Guard got the request, it had its technicians at Camp Atterbury inspect, repair and road test their M113s.
From there, the vehicles were staged for transport and could be seen leaving atop flatbed trucks.
“We’ve been ordered to ship these out at the president’s directive, to provide military equipment to Ukraine,” Brig. Gen. Justin Mann, the director of the Indiana National Guard’s joint staff, said in a video.
“The team did a complete technical inspection and we’re able to get all these things ready ahead of time, in less than five days,” he said. “So a monumental, herculean effort by our maintainers, doing great work and getting this equipment ready.”
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he hopes the M113s make a difference.
“By joining with other states in sending numerous of these armored vehicles to Ukraine, we hope and pray that this will give Ukrainian forces a major leg up in their defense of their home country,” he explained in a statement.
“In West Virginia, we will always stand up for what’s right, which is why we stand united with Ukraine and will continue to help in every way possible, especially as we continue to learn about the war crimes and other atrocities that continue to occur in this unprovoked and intolerable attack on a nation and its people.”