Urban Combat Skateboard


Happened across this pic while browsing. I can't direct link to the captioned version, but here's the super-sized version at the Defense Visual Information Center. skateboard_dt.jpgHere's the caption:

LCPL Chad Codwell, from Baltimore, Maryland, with Charlie Company 1st Battalion 5th Marines, carries an experimental urban combat skateboard which is being used for maneuvering inside buildings in order to detect tripwires and sniper fire. This mission is in direct support of Urban Warrior '99.
An. Urban. Combat. Skateboard.
Laugh, if you want, but it's the only vehicle from Future Combat Systems to be fielded so far.
I also see it was "experimental". This must have been in Darpa's lean years. Was this was before the military starting buying commercial parts? Back when the Pentagon shopped at rummage sales?
And I'm fuzzy on this whole "detecting trip wires and snipers" tactic, here. I mean, you'd detect them, all right. I'm no military strategist, but you don't need a skateboard to set off booby-traps and get shot at.
I can see it now: "Lance Corporal, go see if that hallway is rigged to blow. Yeah. Just roll down it. Fast. Ever see 'Behind Enemy Lines'? Outrun the explosions like Owen Wilson did in the movie. And draw any sniper fire, while you're at it..."
The skateboard doesn't appear to be armored, though, and I can already hear Rummy going on about how you go to war with the skateboard you have, not the skateboard you want. Which is too bad, because there are some real bitchin' decks out there this year. (The board this Marine has is not one of them.)
Ahem. Seriously now. To be honest, if that photo and caption hadn't come from the DoD I'd think it was a joke. I almost should go check Snopes on this one. Does anyone have any info on the urban combat skateboard? I looked around a bit but got bupkes.
--cross-posted by Murdoc
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