The proposal to apply to the U.S. Army for a free surplus Humvee was met with some ridicule, Fulton County Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey said Tuesday, just days after putting the vehicle into local service.
But, he said, it is “obvious it could be very useful in a lot of situations.”
Lorey cited several rescue operations in which stranded or injured persons might have been reached quickly with a Humvee. About a decade ago on Hogsback Mountain in Bleecker it took crucial extra hours to reach an injured logger, who was found dead about two miles from the nearest road. All-terrain vehicles were eventually brought to navigate the deep mud on the logging trails. Lorey said the Humvee could have driven right to the scene.
There also was the family group trapped several years ago when more than 2 feet of snow fell quickly on the jeep trail through the long-gone Tolmantown logging camp between Bleecker and Mayfield. Modern snowmobiles could not travel in the soft snow, Lorey said, and the rescue had to wait until authorities could find a snowmobile capable of riding on top of the snow.
The Humvee, he said, would have traveled right through the snow.
Lorey said the Humvee will be used only when appropriate; it may be loaned to other agencies for rescue operations and he envisions the possibility that local volunteer fire companies might want it to transport personnel and equipment to remote grass and brush fires.
“It’s one more tool,” Lorey said, emphasizing the county obtained it for free and even got it equipped with new tires and other apparatus during a recent visit to the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Glenville.
The 1990s-era Humvee looks like it just came off the assembly line, but it was actually badly damaged by an improvised explosive device while in service in Iraq. Lorey said it was completely refurbished at an Army facility in Maine, but then taken out of service along with all unarmored Humvees.
When the Sheriff’s Department applied for a Humvee and took delivery from Fort Drum in February, Lorey said, “a lot of people made fun of it.”
Fulton County joins Ulster County as having the only two sheriff’s departments in the state with a surplus Humvee. The department is enrolled in the government surplus program for law enforcement agencies. From time to time, items of interest are offered, Lorey said.
“We really didn’t think we’d be successful,” he said . “And then they called one day and said come and get it.”
Lorey described the vehicle as very basic. “It’s not like the ones the drug dealers use,” he joked, referring to the expensive commercial versions formerly produced by General Motors under the Hummer name.
Later this year, Lorey said, Army personnel will train deputies in the operation of the Humvee. It will be parked at the Sheriff’s Department.
Since it will be used rarely, the mileage rating of nine miles per gallon should not be much of a cost factor.
Lorey said he is also not worried about maintenance. Ted Hammons, a mechanic with the county Highway Department, was an Army mechanic trained to keep Humvees operating, Lorey said. The Highway Department is next-door to the Sheriff’s Department.
Categories: Schenectady County