Tour de (special) force: How the Army and Chevy team up on the front lines Page 2


There is one more skill that Delta Force operators must master.

“Other than shooting, something that is more important in what we do is we drive,” Reese said. “We drive vehicles all over the world—whether it’s a Chevy B6 Suburban with the President going to downtown Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day in 2004…or we’re driving some Jenga truck up the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan or we’re driving some old jalopy Chevy down in Colombia hunting down Pablo Escobar.”

While other parts of the military and law enforcement might put junior people behind the wheel, Delta Force looks for experience.

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“In our place, the people who drive are the most experienced because that vehicle, for one it’s dangerous. It’s got a lot of vehicle dynamics that people don’t understand about,” Reese said.

Delta Force operators take driving courses. One former operator said he had taken evasive driving and off-road recovery courses at AM General with military Humvees. He also took a performance driving school with Skip Barber, as well as other defensive driving courses.

Another former Delta operator said he was part of a mobility team. That meant he had to be able to drive or “acquire” (read: steal) anything with wheels, from a motorcycle to a semitrailer. Bourne indeed. A mobility team member is the keeper of that knowledge and he teaches it to other operators.

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban Midnight Editions at The Range Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban Midnight Editions at The Range Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina

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2017 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban Midnight Editions at The Range Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban Midnight Editions at The Range Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina

Enlarge Photo
2017 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban Midnight Editions at The Range Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban Midnight Editions at The Range Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina

Enlarge Photo

Chevrolet’s role with Delta Force

“The Tahoe and Suburban are a big part for us around the world,” Reese said. “We used them in Beirut, Sarajevo, Baghdad, Colombia—Bogota, for years. Whether you're protecting ambassadors in high-threat countries—we’re the guys who do that—or bringing the President to Baghdad to see the troops…Chevy vehicles have been a big part of our lives and we’ve used them a lot.”

While the Tahoe is used by Delta Force, the Suburban’s extra space makes it the more desired vehicle. It can fit more operators and more gear.

Reese speaks highly of the Chevrolets: “A couple of guys have great stories of IEDs hitting our B6 Suburbans and with the runflats and driving right through them, half the vehicle being blown apart...It’s pretty amazing,” he said.

Chevrolet introduced the Tahoe and Suburban Midnight Editions for the 2017 model year, and they are perfect for military duty, or at least the armchair hero civilian equivalent. They both come in black and they are offered in two versions, the LT and Z71 Midnight Editions. When they roll up on you, it looks like you are about to be abducted by the "Men in Black." The LT gets a street performance look, with black 20-inch alloy wheels, black bowties, black roof rack crossbars, and a black grille insert. The Z71 version has an off-road suspension, tubular side steps, fog lamps, tow hooks, sill plates, a 3.42 rear axle, a two-speed transfer case, hill descent control, a high-capacity air cleaner, 18-inch black painted wheels with Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, underbody skid plates, and the same black exterior features.

For desert duty, the Z71 package is the best choice, and the military tends to outfit its Tahoes and Suburbans with the type of equipment the Z71 package offers. These vehicles also often get armor that consists of plates in the doors and engine compartment, adding perhaps 800 to 1,000 pounds of weight. When completely loaded with armor, gear, and personnel, these vehicles may weigh as much as 12,000 or even 15,000 pounds. Given that type of duty, suspension and engine upgrades are often necessary.


 
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