The Army’s newest combat vehicle is named for two hero soldiers
Having an Army combat vehicle named for you is a great honor. Legendary soldiers like Gen. George Patton and Gen. Creighton Abrams have main battle tanks named after them; the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle is named for Gen. Omar Bradley. In naming its latest combat vehicle, the Army honored heroic two soldiers; one from WWII and one from Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On June 28, 2022, General Dynamics Land Systems won the Army's Mobile Protected Firepower competition with its Griffin II armored fighting vehicle. Adamant that the MPF is not a tank, the Army is slated to procure 504 of the vehicles and disseminate them to light divisions. Similar to how light tanks were used during WWII, the MPF is designed to provide armor protection and increased firepower to light infantry units while being able to keep up with their fast rate of movement. The MPF has a top speed of 45 mph and is armed with a 105mm tank gun, a .50-caliber M2 machine gun and a 7.62mm M240B machine gun.
On June 10, 2023, during the Army's 248th birthday celebration at the National Museum of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir, the MPF was formally designated the M10 Booker Combat Vehicle. "The M10 is the Army’s newest combat vehicle and is one of the 24 new systems that we are putting in the hands of Soldiers in 2023," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. "We have been consistent and persistent in our modernization priorities, and we are delivering."
The new M10 is named after Private Robert Booker, who joined the Army in June 1942. Upon completion of basic training, he was assigned to the 34th Infantry Division and took part in the North Africa campaign. On April 9, 1943, during a battle near Fondouk, Tunisia, Booker moved a machine gun and box of ammo across nearly 200 yards of open field. Upon reaching an advantageous position, he set up the gun and returned fire at the enemy. Booker was shot but continued to man his weapon, eliminating an enemy machine gun position. Engaging a second enemy machine gun, he was shot again. Losing blood, Booker continued to direct his squad's fire until he succumbed to his wounds. For his heroism and sacrifice, Booker was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
The M10 is also named for Staff Sgt. Stevon Booker who enlisted in the Army in 1987. He served in Operation Desert Storm and, with the 3rd Infantry Division, Operation Iraqi Freedom. On April 5, 2003, during the Thunder Run armored attack into Baghdad, Booker's platoon came under heavy small arms and RPG fire. Taking charge, he communicated the situation to his chain of command and organized the platoon's reaction to contact. When his machine gun malfunctioned, Booker exposed himself on top of his tank in the prone position and continued to return fire. Despite withering enemy fire, he directed and coordinated the defense of the platoon's flank and destroyed an enemy vehicle. Without cover, Booker fought off the enemy for five miles until he was fatally wounded. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions.
Fittingly, the M10 is designed to provide light infantry soldiers with additional protection and firepower that both men could have taken advantage of. "The M10 Booker Combat Vehicle is named in [their] honor because it will accomplish what they both did – enabling squads to continue pushing forward through heavy machine-gun fire while protecting our most important weapon system: our Soldiers," said Gen. McConville. The first 33 M10s will be delivered to the 82nd Airborne Division in FY25.