Can one glean much information from the color that military contractors are painting Army vehicles at Fort Hood in Texas?
Plenty — if you consider where vehicles of that color would come in handy.
According to a June 10 story in the San Antonio Express-News, a “rush job” ordered directly by a general indicates that not only is the military shifting its assets to either Eastern Europe or the Pacific, it might be doing so in a hurry.
Veteran Gary Pasley — a civil service contractor who was working with his partner David Stidham and a cadre of soldiers — was given just 19 days to repaint 49 military vehicles, including Humvees and medium tactical vehicles, in what the Express-News called “a basic olive drab” known as “woodland green,” which can serve as a primer paint for camouflage. (The camo, it’s worth noting, has yet to be applied.)
Fort Hood, however, has seen deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan for some time now. We’re out of Afghanistan, but our forces are still heavily embedded in the Middle East. Still, Pasley said he sensed a shift in priorities from the color that was being chosen, away from what the Express-News called “the familiar desert tan.”
“I’m pretty sure that we’re downsizing from that region of the world and kind of focused on our efforts elsewhere, so I would say the vehicle [color] might be terrain appropriate,” the Iraq War veteran said, according to the Express-News.
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The vehicles painted by Pasley and his crew were from Fort Hood’s 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. According to the Express-News, the unit issued a statement saying the new color “signals a switch in readiness from fighting in arid places like the Middle East to fighting in more verdant regions.”
“Verdant as in green, with grass or other rich vegetation,” the Express-News reported. “Though the Army didn’t elaborate, that could be islands in the Pacific or forests in Europe.”
It doesn’t take much to figure out the two prime suspects there: Ukraine/Russia or China/Taiwan, although the Army wasn’t willing to elaborate.
“For me, it was an easy solution because I’m a smaller-scale unit and it’s easier to do at a smaller scale. I can’t do it with the thousands of vehicles that are across the corps,” Brig. Gen. Ronald Ragin, commander of Fort Hood’s 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, told the Express-News.
“So whether that’s green camouflage nets, whether it’s green vehicles, green equipment, just getting back to that good field craft that we have as an Army … that was a focus of that project.
“And the soldiers are actually out in the field right now for the next two weeks practicing that field craft,” he continued. “How do we keep a lower signature, implement both passive and active defense measures, and really get back to doing basic things to a high standard?”
As the Express-News noted, “Fort Hood has long been home to first-to-fight divisions and houses the Army’s III Corps,” meaning units there would represent the tip of the spear in any conflict or military buildup overseas.
Moreover, the last major repaint came as the United States was going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The new paint job this time is only slightly less subtle, part of the Pentagon’s move away from counterinsurgency warfare and a return to what some call ‘great power’ conflicts that could involve China and Russia,” the Express-News noted. “If it feels like the old Cold War to those of a certain age, well, it should.”
And it’s not as if President Joe Biden has helped matters, either. In both cases, Biden has made public remarks that have committed the United States to becoming far more stuck-in militarily in those places than U.S. presidents have ever done — only to have White House staff walk his remarks back not long afterward.
In a March speech, Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “butcher” and declared, “for God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
JUST IN: Pres. Biden closes his speech in Warsaw, Poland, with remarks aimed at Russian Pres. Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
— ABC News (@ABC) March 26, 2022
During remarks in Japan in May, meanwhile, Biden responded affirmatively when asked by a reporter if he was “willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, if it comes to that.”
“That’s the commitment we made. That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said.
White House aides would later clarify that he meant only that the U.S. would provide Taiwan with military equipment.
As for the Army’s newly painted vehicles, it’s unclear which of these hotspots they’re going to be headed to, if either.
However, one gets the idea they’re not going to be sticking around Fort Hood indefinitely — and that there are going to be a lot more vehicles getting a fresh coat in the near future.
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