Task & Purpose: Here’s What It’s Like To Command An M1 Abrams Tank

Task and Purpose.com posted an interesting interview today with a former US Army M1A2 SEP Abrams tank commander:

15416919928_6935cf439d_k-840x420World War II was arguably the heyday of tank warfare; however, tankers have continued to serve on the frontlines in the Global War on Terror, particularly during the early years of the Iraq War.

While infantry provides the boots on the ground for combat operations, armor, and in particular, tanks, bring the muscle.

In addition to the main gun, which is a devastating cannon that can level a city block with ease, the M1 Abrams boasts a host of other weapons, including a coaxial machine gun, the loader’s machine gun, and the tank commander’s .50-cal.

The Army’s M1 Abrams is typically crewed by four men: the driver, the gunner, the ammunition loader, and a tank commander. Because of the confined quarters of a tank, its crews are notoriously tight knit, and like any unit that spends endless hours together in a small space, they develop their own unit rituals, traditions, and have unique outlets for dealing with the day-to-day stressors of military life.

In 2006, while deployed to Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah, east of Baghdad, Iraq, Army Capt. Aaron Doft was in charge of 15 other soldiers and four M1A2 SEP tanks — SEP meaning systems enhancement package.

Task & Purpose spoke with Doft about what it’s like to have the awesome power of a tank at your fingertips and what exactly goes on inside while you’re out on a mission.

To read the interview, click here to go to the Task & Purpose site.

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