New Combat Vehicle Named for 2 Heroic Soldiers

New Combat Vehicle Named for 2 Heroic Soldiers

M10 Booker
Photo by: AUSA/Gina Cavallaro

The Army has named its new Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle the M10 Booker Combat Vehicle in honor of two soldiers who died in combat decades apart.

Announced June 10 at the National Museum of the United States Army during a celebration of the Army’s 248th birthday, the M10 Booker is named for Pvt. Robert Booker, an infantryman who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during World War II, and Staff Sgt. Stevon Booker, an armor soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2003 and posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Pvt. Robert Booker, of Callaway, Nebraska, was assigned to the 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. His unit was sent to Africa, where he served for almost a year during the Allied North African Campaign before being mortally wounded during an incursion with enemy forces.

On April 9, 1943, the 22-year-old Pvt. Booker braved enemy fire to cross an open field near Fondouk, Tunisia, carrying a machine gun and a box of ammunition, according to his Medal of Honor citation. He set up his machine gun at a location nearly 200 yards away and began firing on enemy targets.

Though he was wounded by gunfire, he continued firing his weapon and destroyed an enemy machine gun. Turning to a second enemy machine gun, Pvt. Booker was shot again, this time fatally. Before he died, he continued to encourage his squad and help direct their fire, his citation reads.

Staff Sgt. Stevon Booker, a native of Apollo, Pennsylvania, was a tank commander with Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, on April 5, 2003, when his platoon led a task force on a highway toward Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.

Shortly after departing on the mission, the platoon came under heavy small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Staff Sgt. Booker, 34, alerted his command and encouraged his crew, returning fire with his tank mounted machine gun. When both his and his crew’s machine guns malfunctioned, Staff Sgt. Booker got into a prone position on top of the tank’s turret and began firing on the enemy using his personal weapon, according to his award citation.

Protecting his platoon’s flank and delivering accurate information to his command during a critical and vulnerable point of the battle, Staff Sgt. Booker’s fearless attitude and excitement over the radio inspired his fellow soldiers to continue the attack, the citation says.

Still exposed to enemy fire, Staff Sgt. Booker saw an enemy troop carrier trying to bypass his tank and destroyed it before enemy troops could dismount. He continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, the citation says.

The M10 Booker is one of the Army’s first major combat vehicles produced since the 1980s. The design includes a 105 mm main gun, armor, smoke grenade launchers, blowoff panels and automatic fire suppression, intended to enhance survivability against direct and indirect fire, rocket-propelled grenades and underbody threats.

The vehicle has a diesel engine and will be operated by a four-soldier crew.

It is the second Army vehicle to be named for two soldiers. The Stryker Combat Vehicle is named for two Medal of Honor recipients, Pfc. Stuart Stryker, who served in World War II, and Spc. 4 Robert Stryker, who served in Vietnam.

“The M10 Booker is an armored vehicle that is intended to support our infantry brigade combat teams by suppressing and destroying fortifications, gun systems, entrenchments, and, secondarily, then providing protection against enemy armored vehicles,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, the program executive officer for ground combat systems.